Alex Ferguson tried to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United

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Football News

Jose Mourinho has a lot of work to do if he is going to be remembered as fondly by Manchester United fans as Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Scotsman spent almost 27 years at Old Trafford and had a statue and an Old Trafford stand dedicated to him by the time he retired in 2013.

Considering he has never managed to stay at a club for more than three seasons, the odds are certainly stacked against the Portuguese, but he has gone about his first few months at the club in the right way.

He has already convinced Paul Pogba to return to Old Trafford, completing a £89million move from Juventus earlier this month while Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned down myriad offers to join him on a free transfer.

And it is there that Mourinho has got an edge over the man he hopes to emulate, according to Hull City manager Mike Phelan. The long-time assistant to Fergie has revealed that he tried, and failed, to bring the Swede to Old Trafford.

He had to be a target

He told the Manchester Evening News: “There has to be moment in a career span like Sir Alex Ferguson had that there were moments when you come across and think about such star players as Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“The size of Manchester United means you want to recruit the very best. It demands it. He had to be a target.

“I am sure he was on the radar many times. But he was at top, top clubs and because of that, even though it was Manchester United, the prospect of him moving to the Premier League was always very slim because he was at the best anyway.

“He has not been outside of one of the top clubs in the world in his career. When somebody has hold of a talent like that they are not looking to let him go until they are ready.

“He would have been on the radar but they can be on your radar but you cannot always get them. The best is at the best so it is very difficult to do deals.”

The new Eric Cantona

Despite having to prepare his Hull players to defend against Ibrahimovic ahead of Saturday's clash, he is still happy to see the 34-year-old finally in a red shirt. He believes Ibrahimovic could provide the catalyst for success in much the same way that Eric Cantona did when he arrived from Leeds United in 1992.

“Every football club wants a catalyst to take it forward. They want somebody different who can galvanise and bring on other talents even further,” he added.

“Zlatan has that sense of presence and confidence to handle all that. He is the right player at the right time at the right club.

“Eric was the same. He was certainly a catalyst at our time in 1992. Cantona brought expectation and spirit. He had what United fans want to associate themselves with. They all want to see talent and he had it. United fans want to see players who express themselves and Eric was certainly able to do that.

“It looks like they have another one now. Now they expect him to deliver and so far Ibrahimovic is.”

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Wayne Rooney
Alex Ferguson
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Premier League
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho

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