West Brom’s Jonas Olsson revealed he told former Sweden team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic he could become the new Eric Cantona when asked for advice on joining Manchester United.
Ibrahimovic moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer from French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Olsson urged Ibrahimovic to come to the Premier League before his signing, and confirmed they were exchanging text messages on the subject when Louis van Gaal was still in charge at United.
“Zlatan thought twice before he signed for Manchester United. We texted a little between the spring and the late summer,” he said.
“He wanted to know about the atmosphere in England, whether the club would suit him, and also about life in Manchester. He wanted to know a little about the social life over here.
“I told Zlatan that Manchester United would fit him perfectly. The personality that Zlatan has is just like when Cantona was there. Manchester United have lacked this kind of representation with the fans in recent years.”
If he had not already upon signing, Ibrahimovic immediately made himself a darling in the red half of Manchester, scoring in the 83rd minute to win United the Community Shield at the expense of Leicester City on Sunday.
Along with his assertion Ibrahimovic will be a welcome addition to the Premier League’s status, bolstering its reputation, Olsson also admitted he wants to finally come up against his compatriot.
Olsson will have to wait until December 17, when West Brom host United at The Hawthorns, but he will no doubt be circling the date.
“I’ll be honest. I wanted him to come here. It raises the status of the league even more and it is fun for me personally to play against him,” he said.
“This is still a big step for Zlatan. He has a great career behind him. He is almost 35 now, but he has a few years left in his career before it is finished and he wants to be remembered for what he does at United.”