Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury may cost Chelsea in the long run
Jose Mourinho isn’t the only Premier League manager who may end up cursing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s massive knee injury. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte may end up as the biggest loser. The prolific Swede’s absence may push United into a massive bid for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
Ibrahimovic’s knee injury will sideline him until January 2018 at the very least. That leaves a giant hole at the top of United’s attack. Marcus Rashford might be capable of performing the task, but handing that spot to a relatively unproven player isn’t Mourinho’s style. Instead, The Special One is more likely to search for Ibrahimovic’s replacement in the transfer market.
It just so happens that a young, prolific Premier League goal scorer figures to be available. Everton would like to hang on to Romelu Lukaku, but that’s a pipe dream. Ronald Koeman’s squad will almost certainly be forced to sell him to the highest bidder this summer. Previously, most expected Chelsea to win that transfer battle.
If Manchester United are forced to find a new striker this summer, those circumstances could change in a hurry. It seems that Mourinho’s preferred target is Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, but Lukaku wouldn’t be too far down his list. It’s also entirely possible that Diego Simeone talks his French forward into staying in La Liga for one more season.
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If that happens, expect United to shift their attention to Lukaku. In many ways, he’s a better fit for Mourinho’s style of play. His ability to torment defenses with his speed and physicality would be perfect as the tip of United’s attacking spear. Griezmann, in contrast, does not have the strong body type to really hold the ball up against Premier League defenders.
In fairness, if Chelsea want to get a deal done for Lukaku they have the financial might to overcome United’s interest. It’s unlike Roman Abramovich to be outbid for a player his club truly covet. That doesn’t mean it won’t be costly for the Blues though. United’s interest in Lukaku could easily cost Chelsea ten million pounds or more.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s latest injury is bad news for Manchester United in the short-term, but it could cost Chelsea a lot of money this summer. The transfer race for Romelu Lukaku may really heat up between the two Premier League rivals.