The Sweden striker has scored seven goals in his first five games in Ligue 1 following his big-money summer move from AC Milan.
That puts him on course to pass 30, the highest total Papin managed during the five successive years he finished as the league's leading scorer.
And the former Marseille and Milan star backed him to do so, though he feels the league's all-time record of 44 - set by OM's Josip Skoblar in 1970-71 - will remain out of reach.
"It seems difficult for him to keep up his rhythm from the start of the season until the end," Papin told Le Parisien. "During the season he will of course have slumps of several games without a goal, or injuries or suspensions.
"But he has a great team around him. I believe he will pass my total of 30 goals but Skoblar's 44 seems too much."
Papin likened Ibrahimovic to Van Basten, a former team-mate of the Frenchman at the San Siro.
"He's the type of player that impresses me, he's a powerful and tough guy," he said.
"It's rare to see a player like him who has such a good touch in front of goal. It is this combination of power and finesse that impresses me.
"He is like Marco van Basten, who I played with at Milan. He has the same style of play as him with more physical power.
"He has enormous experience of the top level which will serve him well in Ligue 1.
"We haven't had a goalscorer like him in France for a long time. He is on a different plane to anyone else."