Zlatan Ibrahimovic 'thought twice' about Man United move - Jonas Olsson

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was convinced to join the club in part thanks to former Sweden teammate Jonas Olsson, according to the West Bromwich Albion defender.

Olsson felt that Ibrahimovic could emulate Eric Cantona at Old Trafford with his strong personality, so he encouraged the forward to make the move following the end of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ibrahimovic, 34, has already made an impact at United, scoring on his debut against Galatasaray then netting the winning goal in the 2-1 Community Shield victory over Leicester City last Sunday.

Olson told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: "Zlatan thought twice before he signed for Manchester United.

"We texted a little between the spring and the late summer. 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."

In the spring, Ibrahimovic was still a PSG player while Louis van Gaal remained in charge as United manager. Van Gaal departed in the summer to be replaced by Jose Mourinho, then Ibrahimovic became a free agent after his contract expired.

United are due to travel to The Hawthorns on Dec. 17 before hosting West Brom on April 1 next year, and Olsson said he was looking forward to facing his compatriot.

"I'll be honest," he said. "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. I hope I find it as funny after we have played against United.

"He texted me a little bit, but I don't think my opinion weighed so heavily on his mind. 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 think there were other people he spoke to and that he listened to their opinion more.

"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."

Ibrahimovic has won championships in top leagues such as La Liga and Serie A but there has been debate about whether he can help claim Premier League glory with United at his age.

Olsson said: "I think the English league suits him. The Italian and Spanish leagues can be a bit more tactical [defensively].

"Here, the centre-backs in general are more focused on winning every ball in the British way, and I think he can take advantage of the fact that they can be a bit too aggressive sometimes. He's a very intelligent player."