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The Unmentioned Motives Behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Contract Extension

The Unmentioned Motives Behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Contract Extension
By Mikey Traynor
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On Wednesday it was confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had extended his contract for a second season at Old Trafford, and the news received a mixed response as many are looking purely at what they see on the pitch, and not the bigger picture.

Since arriving from PSG, the 35 year old has managed to find the back of the net on eight occasions without really hitting the type of form that the fans were hoping for after his impressive start.

Zlatan hasn't been outstanding, but he hasn't been too bad, and while he has missed some big chances at important moments, he is still capable of producing something out of nothing and gets the fans out of their seats with the threat he poses.

And yet some were surprised to see Manchester United take the decision to secure him for another year, mainly because it's so early in the season. Why not offer him a two-year contract from the start? Or why not leave it until March to get a good look at how he has played?

Firstly, because despite the fact that he is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a one-year deal was the desire of both parties to see how the big Swede with an even bigger reputation meshed with the squad, and how Manchester suited the sophisticated taste of the star used to Paris and Milan.

And as for waiting? There is simply no need. The noises from Zlatan camp suggest that Manchester is great, and has an unfair reputation. It works for Zlatan, but why are United so happy despite the hot and cold nature of his performances?


The driving factor is arguably how quickly and how well the other members of the squad have taken to Ibrahimovic. From what we see and from what we are told, everybody things Zlatan is great and he's best mates with everyone. We've seen him having the craic with Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, David De Gea, and most importantly Wayne Rooney, who is the players' voice in the dressing room if recent reports are to be believed.


For a dressing room perceived to be as sensitive as Man Utd's has been in recent weeks, keeping his attitude around the first-team is vital.

But what about Bastian Schweinsteiger? Doesn't everyone love him too? Well... No. If reports are to be believed, Schweinsteiger being essentially allowed to be a part-time player for United under Louis Van Gaal, skipping training, flying back to Munich, and taking it very handy with injury recovery, fractured any relationship he had with the first-team players. Supposedly Mourinho took the stance with Bastian that he did to set an example, that half-assing it won't be accepted anymore.

Financially, Ibrahimovic's extremely high wages don't even come into the discussion. He generates enough revenue for the club to make committing to paying him for another season a no-brainer.


But perhaps the most overlooked thing when considering what Ibrahimovic brings to Old Trafford, not goals, not endorsements, and not personality, is time.. It might sound like a strange thing to say about a 35-year-old, but having Ibrahimovic at the club for another year is an insurance policy. With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Manchester United fans believe they have the makings of a strike-force that can fire them to glory for the foreseeable future, but they are not there just yet.

Martial, in particular, appears be struggling for focus, and if Ibrahimovic is not around next year then the weight of carrying the attack with an ever advancing Wayne Rooney the only other option may be too much. Marcus Rashford is being played on the wing where he has been far less effective, but he needs to learn the ropes and develop as a player, and while mistakes like the one made when allowing Oxlade-Chamberlain to coast past him and whip in a cross for Giroud to level last week will be frustrating, they will also be lessons to learn from.

Both players have spoken about how much they are learning from Zlatan in training every day, which is a massive plus, but having him around the place allows both young attackers to learn without the threat on their long-term future that a new signing would bring.


As long as Zlatan remains on good terms with his teammates, and stays fit enough to get the goals that he will inevitably get, then the decision to take him on for another year is just common sense.

SEE ALSO: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Has Henrik Larsson's Back After Disgraceful Scenes In Sweden

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