Report: Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to extend Manchester United contract to 2018
The Swedish striker had signed a one-year deal when he joined the Red Devils last summer
What’s the story?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to extend his contract at Manchester United and it has been reported that he will sign on for at least another year. According to Swedish newspaper Sport Expressen, the 35-year-old striker could put pen to paper on a new deal to stay at Old Trafford despite interest from clubs outside in and outside Europe.
The new contract will also give them the option to sign him on for another year – effectively a rolling one-year contract – depending on his performances. But he has also asked for assurances from the club that they will compete for the Premier League title next season.
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The news comes out just after his agent Mino Raiola had confirmed that although Ibrahimovic had praised Serie A club Napoli, moving to the Italian club was a completely different matter altogether. The Naples-based club had been linked with the former Sweden international and Ibrahimovic had not explicitly ruled out a move, saying: “A move to Napoli? You never know.”
However, Ibrahimovic had also said that he was happy at Old Trafford. “I am feeling well at United,” he had said. “But we will see what happens.”
United’s number 9 had also been linked with a move to Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy. His agent Raiola had been seen flying to the United States of America to discuss a possible move to the outfit that once had former United star David Beckham in their ranks.
The heart of the matter
Manchester United have been trying to extend his contract for a while now and it does look like Ibrahimovic has been weighing up his options. Manager Jose Mourinho has constantly affirmed that the Red Devils would extend the striker’s contract, even calling it a mere ‘formality’.
Even though he is in his mid-30s, Ibrahimovic is still in fine form. Having scored more than 30 goals per season in the last five years (including a career-high 50 goals last season for Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahimovic has not shown any signs of slowing down.
In the 2016/17 season, he has been United’s saviour time and again and has already scored 26 goals (15 in the league) with two months left to go. United have a packed schedule following the international break and Mourinho will count on his star striker to lead from the front.
As the Portuguese manager looks to rebuild his side, Ibrahimovic could be the keystone as the side have struggled in games where he has not played a part. However, with better signings made this summer, Ibrahimovic may not have to come off the bench to save the Red Devils as he has done this season.
His fitness has always been one of Ibrahimovic’s key traits but Mourinho would do well to manage his minutes next season if Ibrahimovic eventually signs the extension. Having won a league title with every major club he has played for in Europe, his career would seem incomplete if he didn’t at least try to win one at Old Trafford – especially since Mourinho usually wins it in his second season.