Manchester United are ready to splash the cash on a new target man after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent admitted that the legendary striker may not stay at the club beyond this summer.
Mino Raiola explained why the 35-year-old’s time at Old Trafford may be over, after just 12 months with the Red Devils, in an interview with talkSPORT, with Ibrahimovic’s contract due to expire at the end of June.
Manager Jose Mourinho is believed to have drawn up a two-man shortlist to replace Ibrahimovic if he departs, with Everton’s £100m-rated Romelu Lukaku and £65m-rated Real Madrid star Alvaro Morata the duo most likely to be targeted by United.
Aubameyang to PSG….
That’s one number 9 option down. Belotti, Icardi, Morata, Lukaku are the only other 4 we’d go for.
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) May 31, 2017
Ibrahimovic is currently recuperating from a cruciate knee ligament injury after he sustained the problem during United’s Europa League semi-final clash with Celta Vigo, but is said to be holding out hope that he can continue playing at the top level of football for a couple more years once he returns to full fitness.
The surgeons who operated on the ex-Sweden international’s knee are confident that Ibrahimovic will be able to continue playing on, but it has been claimed that United may not wait until January 2018 – Ibrahimovic’s supposed return date – to see if he is fully recovered, especially given his extorionate £346,000-a-week wages.
That conjecture led to Raiola to hint that his client’s future may lie away from Manchester – although the super agent did go on to try and placate United fans’ fears by stating that Ibrahimovic would like to stay if given the opportunity to do so.
He said: “He wants to stay in England and at the top. If he sees he is a valuable asset for United he will stay. But he knows he can valuable asset for other top clubs also.
“I think it is respectful to talk to Manchester United and see what all parties want. There is a possibility he stays but also that he does not. We have talked, he has a lot of offers and ideas that we have to evaluate.
“He’s had a fantastic time at United and it’s now up to us and the club to decide. We have a date for that but now is time to recover.”
“Lions don’t recover like humans.” 女
Just over a month after injuring his knee, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back kicking footballs. pic.twitter.com/TCvuO3ysqH
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 31, 2017
If United harbour hopes of landing either Lukaku or Morata, though, they will have to pay over the odds for either forward.
Everton have slapped the multi-million pound fee on Lukaku’s head in a bid to ward off interest in the contract rebel, while United could become involved in a bidding war for Morata – the Spain international is also supposedly interesting AC Milan and Premier League champions Chelsea.
Ibrahimovic netted 28 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions for United last term.
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