Friday 28 April 2017

Explained: The reason why Zlatan might be stalling on extending his Man United contract

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the EFL Cup Final match between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the EFL Cup Final match between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The motivation behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s reluctance to sign an extension to his Manchester United contract may have been revealed, after reports in America claimed he has been offered the chance to replace Robbie Keane as LA Galaxy’s lead striker.

At the age of 35, Ibrahimovic has confirmed he can still perform at the highest level after blasting 26 goals in his debut season at United, with his two strikes in the EFL Cup final against Southampton enough to secure Jose Mourinho’s first trophy as the club’s manager.

United and Mourinho made it clear last December that they are keen to activate the one-year extension clause in Ibrahimovic’s contract, yet the Swedish marksman has so far refused to commit his future to the club.

That has sparked increasing speculation that he may have another offer on the table and while a lucrative move to China has been mentioned as an option to finish his career, reports in America appear to have confirmed that LA Galaxy are keen to wrap up a deal to sign Ibrahimovic.

The respected Sports Illustrated are reporting that ‘multiple sources’ have informed them that Ibrahimovic’s adviser Mino Raiola has held talks with Galaxy officials, and suggested they are confident of sealing a deal for the striker to move to Major League Soccer this summer.

Ibrahimovic could move to Los Angeles on a free transfer and Sports Illustrated suggest he would be command ‘the highest salary in MLS history’ by some distance, although Galaxy chiefs accept he may decide to remain at United for another season.

Galaxy will need to remove one of Giovani Dos Santos, Jelle Van Damme or winter signing Romain Alessandrini from their designated player list to create space for Ibrahimovic, but that could be done by tweaking the club’s budget for 2017.

Ibrahimovic is believed to have asked for a two-year extension to his United contract and as that has not been forthcoming from Old Trafford chiefs, the two-year deal he appears to have been offered to expand his ‘brand’ to an American audience may be tempting.

Galaxy would also welcome the arrival of a striker who could lead their push for MLS Cup glory in the absence of Keane, even though Ibrahimovic would miss the first two months of the season due to his commitments with United.

Now all eyes will be on Raiola and Ibrahimovic to make the next move, with a decision on his future set to be made imminently as Galaxy waiting for an answer as they look to finalise their plans for the new MLS season that got underway last weekend.

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