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How will the LA Galaxy use Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Don’t expect Zlatan to walk into the starting lineup

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, Sigi Schmid told Max Bretos in the Heineken Boot Room he wasn’t going to worry about Zlatan Ibrahimovic until a deal happened. In retrospect, the LA Galaxy boss may have already been plotting on how to best use the Swedish superstar.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic signs with LA Galaxy

Fitting the former Manchester United striker into the lineup is no easy task. Sigi and the staff did great work rebuilding a roster full of holes in the offseason, but the Galaxy squad remains a bit unbalanced.

First, the positives. With United prematurely knocked out of the Champions League, the Red Devils’ bad luck was the Galaxy’s good fortune. Signing Zlatan on a free transfer now gives the coaching staff valuable time to integrate all of LA’s attacking pieces versus later in the year when form becomes paramount. Doing so with Target Allocation Money? Call it a coup.

Ibrahimovic has been a reliable scorer in the Premier League, bagging 28 goals for United during their 2016/2017 campaign. At 36 years of age and coming off a torn knee ligament, Zlatan’s fitness is an obvious concern, but it appears Ibra has made a full recovery.

Now, the awkward. Zlatan can still produce at a high level, but Ibrahimovic is not a consistent 90-minute player at this stage in his career, nor a penciled in starter. Ibra has the potential to thrive as either an aerial presence like he did with Manchester United or a conductor similar to his role at PSG, but Zlatan has to perform on managed minutes.

The organization just spent big money to lure another target striker in Ola Kamara to LA. The Norwegian international has arguably been the Galaxy’s best player this season, and he’s not going anywhere.

Originally the two game day scenarios we might see from Sigi Schmid are Ibrahimovic directly replacing Ola Kamara, or if Gio is fatigued, why not push Jona into more of a playmaking role and go with two forwards up top? If the team is chasing the game, you could always roll the dice and take a defender off.

Lineup 11

It’s up to Sigi to get the personnel right, but that’s why he’s paid the big bucks. How do you think the Galaxy should best utilize Zlatan?