United want to seal deals for Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan before Mourinho's official unveiling
Published 28/06/2016 | 14:06
Manchester United hope to announce deals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan before Jose Mourinho is due to be unveiled to the media a week on Tuesday.
Ibrahimovic is likely to undergo a medical with United this week with a view to signing a one-year contract, possibly with the option of another 12 months.
The Sweden striker could be announced as a United player as early as Friday, once his contract with Paris St-Germain formally ends.
United are at an advanced stage of negotiations to sign Mkhitaryan in a deal that could be worth up to £31.7 million with add ons.
Borussia Dortmund have reluctantly come to accept that the Armenia midfielder wants to leave Germany for Old Trafford and want the situation resolved before they begin pre-season training on Monday.
Mkhitaryan, 27, has a year left on his contract at Dortmund and had made clear he had no intention of signing a new deal. The player’s agent, Mino Raiola, who also represents Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, another United target, said Mkhitaryan wanted to move to Old Trafford “by any means” and regarded it as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. United have offered a four-year contract.
Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan would become Mourinho’s second and third signings following the capture of Eric Bailly, the Ivory Coast centre-half, from Villarreal for £30.4 million. He also wants to sign Pogba but United would have to smash the world transfer record of £85.3 million paid by Real Madrid for Gareth Bale to stand any chance of landing the France midfielder and also face stiff competition from Real.
Having previously stated that Mkhitaryan would not be sold after the departures this summer of fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester City and defender Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich, Dortmund’s stance has softened, mindful of the dangers of keeping an unhappy player against his will amid reports of relations turning sour.
There are also indications the size of the deal on the table is too much to reject given that they would lose the player for nothing next summer.
As such, Dortmund are actively chasing replacements. Ousmane Dembele, the France Under-21 midfielder, has been signed from Rennes and Dortmund are expected to make an improved bid for Karim Bellarabi after an opening offer of £29.2 million for the Bayer Leverkusen forward was rejected. They have also been linked with moves for Andre Schurrle, the former Chelsea player now at Wolfsburg, and Mario Gotze, the former Dortmund idol who left to join Bayern in 2013.
Hans-Joachim Watzke, the Dortmund chief executive, told German magazine Kicker they were “assessing” how best to “solve” the situation before Monday.
“We will assess his [Mkhitaryan’s] situation this week. “We not only need to discuss it with Michael Zorc [the sporting director] and Thomas Tuchel [the coach] but also with the bodies. It is a difficult decision.
“There are three perspectives with every transfer: an economical, a strategic and a sporting one. If the economical side becomes overwhelming it might happen that you make a different decision in the end.”
United announced Mourinho had replaced Louis van Gaal on May 27 and the former Chelsea manager is now due to be presented to the media at a press conference on July 5.
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