The future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United could become clearer once the Premier League’s retained list is released later today.
Veteran Swede Ibrahimovic was one of the stars of the 2016/17 season – his first in England after a decorated career on the continent – but is soon to be out of contract at Old Trafford.
He scored 28 goals in total for Jose Mourinho’s men, including Wembley strikes as they won the Community Shield and EFL Cup.
But a season-ending knee-injury in the April 20 Europa League quarter-final with Anderlecht puts the one-year option on the 12-month deal he signed last summer in some doubt.
United have remained quiet about Ibrahimovic’s future since the end of the campaign, so his name will be one of first to look out for when the Premier League announces its clubs’ retained and released list. The list shows who is being let go at the end of their contract on June 30, although situations can still change.
Press Association Sport understands that those behind the scenes at Old Trafford have been impressed by Ibrahimovic’s recovery, yet there remains understandable questions as to how he will be when returning to the first-team.
The Swede will be 36 by the time he next plays, with the serious knee injury expected to keep the striker out until early 2018.
Then there is the expense of retaining the highly-paid striker at a club that he will be unable to play for during half the campaign.
Ibrahimovic’s injury means a new number nine is high on United’s list of priorities this summer.
Reported target Romelu Lukaku appears close to leaving Everton for former club Chelsea, while Torino striker Andrea Belotti and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata are other options.
Mourinho has made no secret of his admiration for Javier Hernandez in recent months, saying he would not have sold the striker to Bayer Leverkusen, before underlining how a player like him was missing at United.