Manchester United are in an extremely enviable position at the moment as they are spoilt for choice in the attacking department. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives the Red Devils added flamboyance in the final third. The popular Swede has been a revelation since he linked up with Mourinho and has backed it up with an incredible showing during his debut season.
Zlatan hit the ground running at Old Trafford faster than when Usain Bolt crossed the line during the 100m sprint at the Olympic Stadium in 2012. The Swede netted 28 goals in 46 games last season, with an impressive ten assists to boot. Based on those phenomenal numbers, there is speculation that Lukaku may be shipped off to the right or play just behind Zlatan in order to make way for the Super Swede.
If that is the case, there hasn’t been much to evidence of late to suggest Lukaku will have to turn provider instead of goalscorer over the last few games. The Belgian has been used as an out-and-out number 9 since Zlatan’s return, apart from a brief stint on the wing against Newcastle when Ibrahimovic made his comeback late into the second half. Lukaku came in as a big money signing from Everton and it doesn’t make financial sense to isolate a player the club paid around £90m pounds for.
Lukaku has been far from poor this season and his stats still make for impressive reading. He has netted eight goals and assisted four times during his 15 league games. The football tips on offer suggest Lukaku has a much greater chance of outscoring Zlatan this season with the Belgian backed at 7/1 for the Golden Boot and Ibrahimovic at 250/1. Based on those figures, it may be wise to leave Lukaku to be for the time being despite experiencing a mini goal drought.
If Zlatan is to take the number 9 role from Lukaku, it would be purely down to a lack of form from the Belgian or injury. That is especially the case with the teams that Mourinho sends out to start. There may be more room for Zlatan to be put into a more central role should the game go on without a goal as he looks to impact the game from the bench.
Zlatan will be more of an impact player than the first name on the team sheet and that is why Lukaku won’t be forced out to accommodate the Swede. It is unlikely that Ibrahimovic will replicate what he did last season and so far hasn’t scored a goal during any of his four games for the club since his return from injury. Granted, he hasn’t had a huge amount of game time, but at 36, it would be some feat for him to be as influential as he was.
Mourinho has said they can easily play together, so there may not even be a need for one or the other to sit out. Martial and Lukaku started up front together against Arsenal during the 3-1 rout at the Emirates and that worked a treat with superb interlinking play. Lukaku will carry on as the clubs number 9 with Zlatan providing one of the best support acts on offer.
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