Craig Bellamy

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Alan Shearer says Ibrahimovic needs a strike partner at Manchester United

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Legendary Newcastle striker Alan Shearer believes he can solve Manchester United’s misfires up front.

The Red Devils have not won a Premier League match since late September, and they have gone three straight matches without scoring a goal, a run of 290 minutes. Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gone a whopping six league matches without scoring, the first time in his career since his time at Inter in 2007.

According to Shearer, Ibrahimovic needs a partner with speed up front to open things up for the Swedish superstar, relating to the twilight of his own career.

“[Ibrahimovic] looked better when [Marcus] Rashford went up front with him in the second-half. It added more pace to the game,” Shearer said on BBC’s Match of the Day, referring to Saturday’s match against Burnley. “Ibrahimovic has never been blessed with great pace, but when you get to your thirties, you lose a yard of pace. Craig Bellamy came to help me at Newcastle with his pace.

“I feel as though that’s what Manchester United need, to have him up front along with Rashford to ask more questions going in behind rather than facing up all the time.”

Manchester United pumped 37 shots towards the Burnley net, but failed to produce anything tangible as Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton 11 saves in a fabulous effort. Rashford started the match and played 82 minutes before being replaced by Memphis Depay.

Ibrahimovic played alongside Edison Cavani for most of his time at Paris Saint-Germain, with the Uruguayan providing both pace and width up front which opened things up Zlatan to make his mark in the penalty area. Rashford would offer a similar skill set to Cavnai, and while Jose Mourinho could deploy a two-striker formation, he hasn’t been known to do so in the past, often playing with a single striker up top in both his spells at Chelesa. However, at Manchester United, Shearer believes Mourinho is still working on how to get the best out of his players on the pitch.

“He doesn’t know his best XI yet,” Shearer said. “He’s playing around with the team and the formation as well. He’s still trying to work it all out.”

If history tells us anything, it’s that Zlatan will break out of his slump in a big way. During that 2007 slump with Inter Milan, Ibrahimovic failed to score for the entirety of October and November before finally kicked his streak by scoring six goals in his next five league matches, including back-to-back braces.