Man Utd could repeat Zlatan move by signing “the best no.9 in the world”

Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday as Tottenham Hotspur came from behind twice to secure a point.

It was a good day for struggling forwards as Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford were both able to get their names on the scoresheet during the first 45 minutes.

The pair have now managed six top-flight goals between them in 29 combined starts for Erik ten Hag this season, which illustrates one of the big problems the club has had – scoring goals.

Man United’s top scorers (via WhoScored)

23/24 Premier League



Scott McTominay



Marcus Rashford



Alejandro Garnacho



Bruno Fernandes



Rasmus Hojlund



13 teams have scored more than the 24 league goals that United have mustered up during the 2023/24 campaign, and this suggests that the Dutch head coach is in dire need of more firepower at the top end of the pitch.

Man United’s hunt for a striker

The Red Devils appear to be in the market to add another number nine to their squad before the end of the January transfer window, which has been open for business for two weeks now.

A report in Spain has named United as one of the possible destinations for Al-Ittihad star Karim Benzema, who could be on his way back to Europe after less than a year in Saudi Arabia.

Firstly, the outlet claimed that Real Madrid would be interested in a swoop to bring the French centre-forward back to Spain – having left the Bernabeu last summer.


The report also stated that another one of the striker’s former clubs – Lyon – would also be open to signing him on loan until the end of the season to bolster their attack in Ligue 1.

Finally, it was reported that Manchester United are the third team in the race to land Benzema on a short-term deal to improve their options at the top end of the pitch during the second half of the campaign.

It was claimed that ten Hag would like to bring in another centre-forward to compete with Hojlund for his position in the team and the Al-Ittihad ace has been identified as a potential option.

The Dutch head coach could now repeat the masterclass that the club played with the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in the summer of 2016 by securing a deal for Benzema before the end of the window.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s world-class impact at United

He arrived at Old Trafford at the age of 34 and came with a proven pedigree at the very top level after a distinguished career playing for a host of huge clubs.

Ibrahimovic scored 392 goals in 677 career games prior to his transfer to England and arrived off the back of a return of 156 goals and 62 assists in 180 matches for Paris Saint-Germain.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Despite his age, United knew that they were signing a world-class number nine who would come in and fire them to success in some way, shape or form.

That is exactly what happened in his very first match for the club. Ibrahimovic scored a late header to secure a 2-1 win in the Community Shield against Leicester City on his debut at Wembley – an instant trophy for the Sweden international.

The veteran forward went on to plunder an eye-catching 28 goals and ten assists in 46 appearances in all competitions as United secured both the League Cup and the Europa League by the end of the campaign.

He scored four goals in five League Cup appearances and two of those strikes came in a 3-2 win over Southampton at Wembley, which meant that the ex-Barcelona star scored trophy-winning goals at Wembley twice in his debut season at United.

Ibrahimovic hit the ground running in England as a world-class number nine who helped the club to win three trophies in one season, which is the kind of impact Benzema could have – albeit on a smaller scale due to the season being halfway complete – if ten Hag is able to sign him this month.

Benzema is a world-class number nine

His former manager Zinedine Zidance once claimed that the French marksman is “the best no.9 in the world” and it is very hard to argue with that statement.

Benzema won the Ballon d’Or at the end of 2022, which suggested that he was the best player in world football at the time, after a return of 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 matches for Real Madrid during the 2021/22 campaign.

21/22 Champions League

Karim Benzema (via Sofascore)



Sofascore rating




Big chances missed




Big chances created


The 36-year-old match-winner followed that up with 31 goals and six assists in 43 appearances for the Spanish giants last season, which led to a move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad in the summer of 2023.

He has racked up nine goals, five assists, and 13 ‘big chances’ created in 15 league outings for his new club, and this shows that his quality in the final third is still shining bright.


At the age of 36, Benzema remains one of the top players in the world. In fact, over the last 365 days, the world-class attacker ranks within the top 1% of his positional peers in the Men’s Top Five Leagues and European competitions for non-penalty xG and Expected Assisted Goals (0.95) per 90.

This shows that he is a constant threat to opposition defences as a scorer and a creator of goals, and his impressive statistics mean that FBref have listed PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe as the most similar player to him over the last 365 days.

These statistics show that Benzema is still at an incredibly high level and comparable to the very best in the world, as Ibrahimovic was at the time of his move to Old Trafford.

Therefore, United could repeat their Zlatan blinder by bringing in another world-class veteran centre-forward who could help ten Hag’s side to achieve success with his immense attacking talent during the second half of the 2023/24 campaign.

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