To many, Manchester United’s signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemed like an inevitable move for the two sides. But for legendary Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the people close to him, such a move might never have happened.
In an interview with The Sun, former Man United assistant Rene Meulensteen said that Ferguson would have hesitated to sign the 34-year-old Zlatan due to his age.
“Maybe nine times out of ten he would not have made a decision like this,” Meulensteen said.
“That is because of everything that Alex Ferguson wanted to do with youngsters — bring them through and improve them as players.
“But if he felt the situation was there for the one time out of ten, he would do it. Like bringing in Laurent Blanc, a player in his 30s, after Jaap Stam left.
“It’s a similar scenario. To be successful is about who is available right now. Then, as a manager, you are judged on the results.
“You ask ‘Is it the quality we need? Does it fit the situation?’
“In this situation he brings a bit more charisma and personality. Jose Mourinho has worked with him before and had no hesitation signing him.”
Zlatan, though showing few signs of deteriorating ability, is in his mid-30s and would have been among the oldest players ever signed if Ferguson was still the man in charge at Old Trafford.
However, one of the attractions for Ibrahimovic was undoubtedly the presence of his former manage Jose Mourinho, who was hired earlier this summer to replace recently-sacked manager Louis van Gaal. Zlatan and Mourinho have been very fond of each other since their days in Inter Milan.
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