Former Celtic and Wales striker John Hartson believes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been key to Manchester United’s impressive run over the past few months.
The 35-year-old, widely written off back in the summer, has silenced all forms of doubt surrounding his age by claiming 24 goals already this season.
And Hartson, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, noted that Man United would find themselves miles behind the top four without Zlatan’s impact.
“Manchester United are on a great run – I’m not sure whether they’d be mid-table – but certainly Zlatan’s impact has been absolutely magnificent,” Hartson said.
“He has almost won games single handedly. He is a physical presence. He is a focal point. He has a massive reputation. He is a born winner. He has won at every club that he has been at. He has won titles. He has played for some unbelievably big clubs which Manchester United are.
“There is no doubts about him settling in. He has settled in extremly well… He has been extraordinary as a signing.”
When Mourinho arrived at Chelsea for the second time back in 2013, he ran into a problem: the side at his disposal was blessed with a truly solid core, replete with indefatigable, dedicated talents across all positions, but he lacked that crucial element of goalscoring prowess.
At United, however, he has encountered the reverse of this problem: a powerful, seemingly unstoppable goalscoring menace at the masthead of attack, only to be let down by a lack of raw mettle needed to challenge for the title.
United fans will hope that Mourinho can combine Zlatan’s explosive influence with a side capable of maintaining a solid core for the entirety of next season.