Sunday 23 October 2016

Manchester United accidentally announce Mkhitaryan deal at same time as Ibrahimovic

Jack de Menezes

Published 01/07/2016 | 14:53

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has signed with Manchester United. Getty
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has signed with Manchester United. Getty

While the world was reacting to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s unsurprising admission that he will join Manchester United, the club were busy trying to cover up a transfer blunder of their own after appearing to confirm Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s move from Borussia Dortmund without the deal being completed.

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United’s interest in 27-year-old Mkhitaryan has been no secret, with Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke confirming this week that the Premier League club had made an improved offer, thought to be between £26m and £35m depending on bonuses and incentives.

But while United are yet to make any official announcement after sending an official to Germany to try and complete the deal, the official club shop started to sell United shirts for the 2016/17 season with the option of Mkhitaryan on the back, raising suspicions that the deal was already done.

Sky Deutschland initially picked up on the sudden change, but the option was quickly removed and no announcement was made on any transfer business – Mkhitaryan or Ibrahimovic related.

The initial £26.3m deal is expected to go through for Mkhitaryan to move to Old Trafford within the next week though, with reports suggesting that a deal has already been agreed over personal terms and a medical is scheduled for the coming days.

The Armenia international has just one year remaining on his Dortmund contract, but he rejected an offer to extend his stay at the Signal Iduna Park and both he and his agent, Mino Raiola, have been vocal in their desire to seek out a new club and structure a summer move.

Ibrahimovic meanwhile could complete his move to United as early as Friday after revealing on Thursday via social media that his next destination will be United, as has been widely reported. Ibrahimovic is also represented by Raiola, who has endured lengthy talks with United regarding both Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic and has also held discussions with the club over the future of Paul Pogba, as revealed by The Independent.

Writing on Instagram, Ibrahimovic said: “Time to let the world know. My next destination is @manchesterunited #iamcoming.”

Time to let the world know. My next destination is @manchesterunited #iamcoming

A photo posted by IAmZlatan (@iamzlatanibrahimovic) on

The Swedish striker, who retired from international football after Sweden’s Euro 2016 group stage exit, will reunite with manager Jose Mourinho after working with the Portuguese at Inter Milan, and he will be tasked with improving United’s threat in front of goal after they struggled last season to find the back of the net, resulting in Louis van Gaal’s side missing out on the Champions League and subsequently getting the Dutchman the sack.

The forward has agreed a 12-month contract with United with the option of an extra year on wages in the region of £220,000-a-week, and should he and Mkhitaryan complete their moves to Old Trafford, they will take Mourinho’s summer recruitment drive to three new players after the club signed defender Eric Bailly last month.

Independent News Service

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