Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at Manchester United is split into two distinct halves.
First there was the all-conquering superstar who bagged 28 goals and 10 assists in 46 games. And then came the injury-hit player whose final year at Old Trafford was cut short by mutual consent.
That Ibrahimovic left when he was fit again should not be forgotten. Nor should the fact that he left United after another Champions League elimination.
The towering Swede wanted the trophy that had eluded him and, once that was no longer an option, all parties thought it best he moved on.
Had Ibrahimovic stayed until the end of last season, he would have replaced the injured Romelu Lukaku for a vital run-in and the FA Cup final.
Instead United struggled while Zlatan headed to MLS. Which brings us to this season: one in which the 37-year-old has scored 20 goals in just 24 games for LA Galaxy.
Forget the level of competition. This is a player who scores for fun wherever he is. And he would have helped United through their woes this time round, too.
Those who claim Zlatan slowed United’s play are missing the point. It is Jose Mourinho who slows the club’s attacks. The former Sweden international is one of the few players who scored consistently regardless.
Ibrahimovic is ready-made for a club scared to attack under the guidance of a manager scared to lose. He has the leadership and the talent to turn those dour draws into narrow wins.
He did it time and again in his only full season at United and they should have kept him on, despite his wages and his age.
After all, he earned considerably less than Alexis Sanchez and still does considerably more.