Jose Mourinho 'targeting Zlatan Ibrahimovic, John Stones and Renato Sanches' for United
Jose Mourinho will approve a big-money move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic if he becomes Manchester United manager in the summer, and will also look to trump both Chelsea and Manchester City in a bid to sign Everton John Stones, it has been reported.
As well as Ibrahimovic and Stones, Mourinho will look to target Renato Sanches, with The Sun reporting that the club will be willing to sanction the triple move in a bid to improve matters at Old Trafford after two poor seasons under Louis van Gaal.
Speculation is rife that Van Gaal will be sacked in the summer with Mourinho poised to take over, although the Independent understands that no official offer has been made to the Portuguese manager.
With Ibrahimovic out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, a number of clubs have been linked with a move for the Swede with the expectation being that he will seek a move to the Premier League. Both Arsenal and Chelsea have also been linked with the 34-year-old, though only United have expressed an official interest in the striker.
Reports emerged last week though that Ibrahimovic will only consider a move to Old Trafford if Van Gaal leaves the club, and his future could well depend on United’s finishing position in the Premier League as well as how they get on in the FA Cup.
Stones meanwhile is proving a popular transfer target among the Premier League elite with Chelsea seeing four bids turned down by Everton last summer, while Manchester City have also been linked with a move for the 21-year-old when Pep Guardiola takes over from Manuel Pellegrini.
Everton’s poor form in the Premier League this term has seen pre-season expectations of European football die out with a whimper as the Toffees currently languish down in 11th place in the league table, and their failures under Roberto Martinez risk the possibility of key players such as Stones and Romelu Lukaku leaving for clubs playing in the Champions League.
Sanches has already been watched by United scouts and the club could launch a move for the Benfica midfielder even if Van Gaal remains in charge, although the Portuguese side are determined to hold out for as much as £47m to part with the talented teenager.
It means that United could be set to splash out another £100m in transfer fees alone should Mourinho pursue the trio, with Ibrahimovic set to see that fee increase significantly with a large signing-on fee given he will cost nothing once he is out of contract.
Having spent over £250m under Van Gaal’s two-year reign, spending even more money on a team that struggles to finish in the top four – let alone challenge for the Premier League title – will heap the pressure on either Van Gaal or Mourinho, and the club’s board will begin to face pressure from sponsors such as Adidas to improve performances given the £750m deal they have with the club.
Independent News Service