Manchester United must prioritise future of Anthony Martial over Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester United’s deal to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic is probably the most high profile transfer completed in England so far this summer. The Swede adds more firepower to an already impressive frontline, but it may not be all good news at Old Trafford.

Earlier this week, United confirmed that Ibrahimovic will wear the number nine shirt this season, one previously worn by Anthony Martial. Reports suggest that the change was made without consulting Martial, something which may anger the Frenchman.

In the long term, changing numbers isn’t something that is going to cause a massive problem with the 20-year-old, but it does raise another issue. It seems that Jose Mourinho’s men value Ibrahimovic more than they do Martial.

Undoubtedly the signing of Ibrahimovic is a huge coup for the Red Devils, given the success he has had worldwide and the reputation he brings with him. However on the pitch, Martial may be more important to United, due to his age and obvious potential.

There is a chance that Ibrahimovic could hinder Martial’s development in Manchester. If the 34-year-old plays for United, he will be the focal point of their attack, and their main man.

From what we saw in his first season in England, Martial is certainly at his best with the ball at his feet, running at defenders. He was regularly given the ball at every opportunity last season, but with Ibrahimovic around, he may not this time around.

The Frenchman clearly has huge potential that with the right level of experience could make him a great player. No league will test him like the Premier League, and in a couple of years he will be world class player at Manchester United, but not if he is second to Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan IbrahimovicAt 34, United can’t expect Ibrahimovic to be the player he was five years ago, despite his impressive form for PSG in recent seasons. However Ligue 1 is so much weaker than the Premier League, and the Swedish striker will find it very difficult to recreate his form from France.

At just 20, there is still lot to come from Martial, and although it may mean not being very successful over the next couple of years, the long term benefits could be endless. United must make sure Martial is given what he needs now, and even if it costs Ibrahimovic, it will be worth it.

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