Paul Merson warns Zlatan Ibrahimovic could affect Man United signing’s confidence

The Arsenal legend warns Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to Man United could affect Romelu Lukaku's confidence

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic Photo: Adidas

Paul Merson has warned Manchester United that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s re-signing could have a negative impact on Romelu Lukaku.

The former Sweden international has signed a one-year contract with Manchester United to extend his stay at Old Trafford for another 12 months.

Ibrahimovic was released at the end of the 2016-17 season but the centre-forward continued to use the club’s training facilities to help his recovery from a knee problem.

The 35-year-old scored 28 times in all competitions last term to help the Red Devils win the EFL Cup and the Europa League but Manchester United ended up in sixth place in the table.

Lukaku moved to Manchester United in a £75m deal from Everton last month and the Belgian forward has wasted no time leaving his mark on the Old Trafford side.

The 24-year-old has already scored three goals in two Premier League games to help Manchester United ease to 4-0 victories over West Ham and Swansea City.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson warned that Ibrahimovic’s arrival could have an undesired effect on their big-name summer signing.

“Lukaku is top man now, you can see it on the pitch. That’s going to change! He’s got a big presence, Ibrahimovic, and he hasn’t gone to United to sit on the bench,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“If Lukaku goes a couple of games without scoring, the fans will be cheering Zlatan’s name, and Lukaku could go into his shell, and we saw that last season in big football matches for Everton, he went into his shell.

“I don’t think he’s gone there to fizzle out and finish his career. When you watch them at the moment, United are a completely different side to last season. They break with real pace.

“Last season Zlatan was good, but nobody else was. That doesn’t win you the Premier League, everybody has to be good. I just think he slowed the game down last season.”

Manchester United will host Leicester City in their next Premier League game at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.

The Red Devils are two points clear at the top of the table after two games.

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