6th July 2016. By Ryan Baldi.

Zlatan Ibrahimovi?'s status as a Manchester United player has been confirmed, and opinion is already divided among onlookers.

Many feel that Ibrahimovi?, at 34, is past his best, and that his place in any prospective United line-up would be better off given to a young prospect such as Marcus Rashford. Indeed, to take that point further, plenty of dissenters feel that the former AC Milan and FC Barcelona striker's arrival at Old Trafford will hinder the development of 18-year-old Rashford and 20-year-old Anthony Martial.

The £200,000 per week that Ibrahimovi? will collect next season, would surely be better spent on a younger, longer-term option for the centre-forward position, right?

And surely the player's infamous ego will serve only to be a negative influence in the United dressing room, upsetting the applecart?

Well, no, quite the contrary. In fact, Ibrahimovi?, at this stage of his career, is exactly the striker United need right now. Precisely because of his age or experience, to put it in more favourable terms the veteran marksman will be the ideal figure for Rashford and Martial to study at the feet of.

Ibrahimovi?'s record of achievement is well documented: the former Paris Saint Germain player has won 13 league titles in the last 15 seasons. The point has been raised that this is mainly because Ibrahimovi?, more often than not, has been turning out for the most dominant teams in each country in which he's played. But in all but one of those title-winning campaigns, the Swede has been his club's highest scorer; proof that he is not merely riding the coat-tails of great sides, rather he is the key man around whom many great teams have been built.

And last season, despite his advancing years, Ibrahimovi? recorded a career-high goals return, breaking the 50-goal barrier for the first time, helping PSG maintain their domestic dominance.

The experience that he will add to United's young frontline will prove invaluable. And, after all, Rashford is still a teenager, and he has only been playing first-team football since February. To thrust him into the new season with the bulk of United's goal-scoring burden on his shoulders especially with the raised expectations brought about by José Mourinho's appointment as manager -- would be unfair to the young man. If he is to act as Ibrahimovi?'s able deputy, making 25-30 starts in all competitions, he will benefit from the reduced spotlight and be able to develop at his own pace.

Had United signed a younger big-name striker, such as Álvaro Morata or Romelu Lukaku, then Rashford's path to first-team opportunities could've been blocked for much longer. But Ibrahimovi? has signed a one-year contract with an option of an additional second year, at the culmination of which Rashford will only be 20-years-old at most. A two-year job-share with one of the best strikers of the last decade will do the young Englishman no harm whatsoever.

Furthermore, Ibrahimovi?'s reunion with Mourinho the two worked together for a single season at Inter Milan eight years ago provides an added element of box office quality to the Red Devils' immediate future.

In his autobiography I am Zlatan, Ibrahimovi? wrote of Mourinho: "I like him. He's the leader of his army . . . Mourinho would become a guy I was basically willing to die for." And the two are united by a common dislike for new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, whom Ibrahimovi? worked under at Barcelona and labelled a "spineless coward" in the same book.

So with United's star having fallen somewhat in the last few years, the limelight will be firmly set upon Old Trafford with Mourinho and Ibrahimovi? in tandem. And Ibrahimovi?'s marketability is something that is not lost on the club's hierarchy; it is no coincidence that the day before the 116-cap former Sweden International was officially unveiled as a United player, the club announced that they would be travelling to Stockholm to play a friendly against Galatasaray during pre-season.

So to return to the point of ego. There is no doubting that Ibrahimovi?'s ego is so large that it has a discernible gravitational pull The former Ajax man was once asked what he would get his wife for her birthday. "Nothing, she already has Zlatan," was his reply.

Grandiose and caricatural though his immeasurable opinion of himself may be, Ibrahimovi?'s self-belief has to be admired; the man is a serial winner. And joining a side which, apart from last year's extra-time FA Cup final triumph over Crystal Palace, has been rather starved of success since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, someone with an unrelenting desire to be the best and to win, would not go amiss.

That winners' mentality has helped Ibrahimovi? earn championship medals with six different clubs across four countries. And his presence at Old Trafford, alongside Mourinho, will have elevated United to the status of genuine contenders for next season's Premier League title.

For those who decry United's signing of Ibrahimovi? as a transfer misstep, it should be pointed out that the Swede represents a relatively risk-free acquisition; after his Paris Saint Germain contract expired last month, Ibrahimovi? was available as a free agent. And although he will receive a substantial wage packet, the merchandising revenue the club can expect to haul in will go a long way towards absorbing that cost.

It is highly unlikely that Ibrahimovi?, who will turn 35 in October, will match his goals tally from last season in France with United. But his presence alone will act as the rising tide raising all ships inside Old Trafford. Regardless of his age, Ibrahimovi? is a globally recognised name and his signing is a statement of intent from United

Whether he scores 10 goals next season or 30, adding a player of Ibrahimovi?'s technical quality should not be perceived negatively. Those who remain unconvinced by his abilities are simply blind to reason.

For a long time, the common view of Ibrahimovi? in Britain was that he'd never really performed against English opposition as though that is some kind of definitive measuring stick. At least that was the case until he scored twice for Barcelona against Arsenal at the Emirates in 2009. And in 2012, four goals for Sweden against England thoroughly put paid to that argument.

The doubters will remain, irrespective of the facts, but next season could see them grow quieter still. Ibrahimovi?, ego and all, is exactly the kind of player United need right now: a ready-made habitual winner, set to guide them back to the top.