Paper Round: Zlatan Ibrahimovic in shock Manchester United comeback
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be re-signed by Manchester United in October after a stunning comeback from injury. It’s Wednesday’s Paper Round.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic in United comeback?
The Sun reports on Wednesday that Manchester United’s star striker of last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, may make a shock return to the club after all. Ibrahimovic joined the club on a one-year contract last summer, with the option to extend for another year. However, after sustaining significant ligament damage to his knee at the end of last season, Ibrahimovic was released by United. The Sun reports that having made a remarkably quick recovery, the 35-year-old is expected to re-sign with United until the end of the season.
Paper Round’s view: We’re not really sure what to make of this. On one hand, if last season taught us anything, it was to never underestimate Ibrahimovic. At 34, they (ok, we) said he couldn’t do it – he was too old to succeed in the Premier League. And yet he was United’s top scorer. On the other hand, you might ask, at what cost? Arguably other aspects of United’s attack were sacrificed to accommodate Ibrahimovic and his slowing pace. United have just forked out £75 million on Romelu Lukaku, who they hope will be able to address some of last season’s weaknesses, so it’s certainly hard to see Ibrahimovic taking centre-stage once more.
Gunners need more than big signings says Wenger
Alexandre Lacazette became Arsenal's club record-signing last weekGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: The signing of Lacazette has been interpreted by many as a strong statement of intent by Wenger for next season. It’s been a 13-year drought for the North Londoners in terms of the league title, but ironically, last year’s failure could help them out in this respect, with a less competitive European tournament to distract them. Nonetheless, failure is not an option for Wenger, who may find he does not like the answers to any probing analysis of last season.
Pep fuming over Alves
A number of Wednesday’s back pages report Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is “fuming” after it appeared transfer target Dani Alves had decided to take his business elsewhere. Alves had been widely expected to reunite with former boss Guardiola at The Etihad this summer after leaving Juventus. However, a picture of Alves apparently undergoing a medical at Ligue One club Paris Saint-Germain, which was leaked on Tuesday, appeared to suggest differently, leaving City’s plans in “turmoil.”
Paper Round’s view: Remember when Moussa Sissoko left Ronald Koeman hanging at the airport while he casually strolled into White Hart Lane? Ok, well it’s not quite that bad at least, eh Pep? This signing seemed a foregone conclusion to us too, though at 34 years old, perhaps Alves will be better suited to the pace of Ligue One in any case.
Barkley home alone as Everton jet off for pre-season
Ross Barkley’s future at Everton set tongues wagging again on Thursday as it was revealed the 23-year-old had been left out of the all-new squad heading for pre-season training. The Daily Mail’s back page on Wednesday ran the story that Barkley was not included in the 25-man squad headed to Tanzania because, the club said, he had a groin injury.
Paper Round’s view: The plot thickens. Barkley is into the remaining 12 months of his contract now, having declined to commit to Goodison Park in the long-term, and Koeman may well think it best to cut ties with the midfielder over the summer. Not least because of the influx of midfield talent in Everton’s flurry of transfer window activity, including Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen.