“No player is bigger than the club”

That is the mantra that Sir Alex Ferguson governed Manchester United with for 27 years. That is the mantra that saw football legends such as Jaap Stam, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane leave Old Trafford.

And as a United fan, that’s the phrase that keeps coming to mind when I think of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho.

Football’s worst kept secret was confirmed this afternoon when the club officially announced that the Swedish enigma would be moving to Old Trafford. Fans all around the world are excited to see what he can do in England, and how he can rejuvenate the Red Devils.

Personally, I have some reservations. For one, he’ll be 35 in October. He has to start dropping off at some point, and he’ll be playing in a far tougher league than the one he managed 38 goals in last season. Plus, he hardly set the world alight at Euro 2016, barely even registering a shot on target.

Another is that he could easily stunt the development of the likes of Anthony Martial, James Wilson and Marcus Rashford – something that Mourinho also doesn’t have a fantastic track record with.

But my biggest concern is with his attitude. During the last four years in Paris, Zlatan has become an almost mythical attraction. He is the main man. Teams were sculpted around him, to the detriment of others tactically.

And the manager is very similar. In Jose and Zlatan, Man Utd now have two figures who like to make themselves the centre of attention over the team and club as a whole. For years, the very name Manchester United held a significant fear factor. But wherever Jose and Zlatan have gone, any intimidation has been down to those two individuals.

The thing is, before Mourinho’s arrival this summer, the sense of aura around the Theatre of Dreams had all but gone anyway. I think the fans will be delighted that these two have arrived in Manchester, because their track record implies success is imminent.

After the last three years, two of which have seen the club fail to qualify for the Champions League never mind challenge for titles, the Old Trafford faithful that have been so used to success for so long can be forgiven for being willing to sacrifice some of Ferguson’s principles if it results in trophies.

And let’s not forget, for all the talk of Sir Alex getting rid of players when they got too big for their boots, his period of dominance was kickstarted when he made concessions to the larger than life figure of Eric Cantona. Maybe, just maybe, this is the start of a new wave of revolutionary success for Manchester United.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s