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Graeme Souness thinks Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be PFA Player of the Year

Thursday 13th April 2017
The PFA Player of the Year shortlist was revealed on Thursday morning. Chelsea's midfield engine N'Golo Kante is the bookmakers' early favourite and a popular choice among the pundits. Sky Sports' Graeme Souness, however, has chosen Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his winner for a host of reasons.
Manchester United's season has been somewhat indifferent so far, currently outside the top four, struggling to secure league wins at home but do already have a trophy to boast with the League Cup win in February. Not to mention still being in contention for the Europa League crown which would secure safe passage to the Champions League regardless of league finish. For the vast majority of their exploits this season United have one player to thank and that is, of course, the super Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The big number 9 has more goals across all competitions this season than any other player in the Premier League and is still in the hunt for the golden boot. It's been a formidable first season in England for the charismatic man to say the least.

Former Liverpool player and manager, Graeme Souness has chosen Ibrahimovic as his player of the season. Souness has been full of praise for the Swede when talking to the Express

He (Ibrahimovic) has single-handedly kept them (Manchester United) in lots of competitions. I love someone who can back up what he says and he can certainly do that, so he is my player of the year.

Souness' comments are very accurate indeed. Ibrahimovic is never shy of voicing his own very vein opinion on his own ability and the success he has had throughout his career. As Souness explained, however, he backs up his claims time and again. He arrived in the league with high expectations due to his profile throughout the years and has never shied away from the pressure. If anything, the striker thrives on it. For Souness to choose him is bold and against the popular opinion but certainly not an outrageous claim to make.

Other candidates such Harry Kane and Eden Hazard seem to be well ahead in the pecking order for the award. Ibrahimovic could even be classed as an outsider for the prize as for him to actually win the award, it would take a stunning end to the season on his part. Perhaps though, despite him not being the front runner, choosing him as the winner isn't outrageous at all. In fact, it makes a great deal of sense when you look into it logically. He has featured for a United team in transition that have often struggled for consistency. Not to mention the lack of goalscorers in other areas of the pitch at Old Trafford to help lighten the load on the Swedish striker. He has at times been United's sole outlet for goals this season, something which carries a lot of weight when you look at the expectations surrounding the club.

This in comparison with players such as Kante and Hazard who are part of a side so well-oiled and performing all over the pitch, or even Kane who has had help from others such as Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min throughout the season. Ibrahimovic hasn't had the luxury of multiple scorers around him.
One thing that has been discussed constantly when Ibrahimovic is the topic of conversation is his age. To be 35 and still perform week in week out at the highest level in a new league is nothing short of spectacular. It is, of course, something that is highlighted often when he plays and Souness agrees that such a fact is a major reason why United's top goalscorer deserves to win the PFA Player of the Year award. One of the oldest players in the league and one of the best during the course of the season, not bad at all it has to be said.

Whether Souness is right or not in his assessment of this year's PFA Player of the Year choice, he poses a good argument. Ibrahimovic does tick many boxes even if he only stands a slim chance of lifting the award in a couple of week's time.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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