Wednesday 21 February 2018

This may explain why Zlatan Ibrahimovic is stalling on signing a new Manchester United contract

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will only stay at Manchester United next season if they qualify to play in the Champions League, according to the latest reports.

United have been waiting for a decision from Ibrahimovic on a new contract for several months, with Old Trafford chiefs eager to activate the one-year extension they have inserted into the contract signed by the Swedish star when he arrived at United on a free transfer last summer.

Yet 35-year-old Ibrahimovic has refused to clarify his future, amid rumours that he is being tempted by an offer to join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.

Now reports suggest Ibrahimovic’s desire to have one final crack at winning the Champions League is the major motivating factor that will decide where he commits his future.

Ibhraimovic’s agent Mino Raiola has confirmed that his client’s desire to add the one major trophy that has eluded him throughout his decorated career may play a big role in his decision over where he will play next season, with United struggling to qualify for the Champions League as they are currently sitting fifth in the Premier League table.

“Zlatan’s sole priority at this moment is to end the season well,” Raiola told RMC Sport.

“Zlatan knows what he wants to do. He wants to play in the final of the Champions League, and if possible to win it.

“Zlatan is motivated and all clubs who offer him a contract know that. He doesn’t need to continue for financial reasons, he wants to prove himself at the highest level, just as he has the other years when people thought he was too old.

“I’m not saying the financial aspect is not important at all, but his motivation is not money. If you are the best, you must be paid as the best.”

United will qualify for the Champions League if they win this season’s Europa League, with Ibrahimovic set to lead the line for Jose Mourinho's side as they take on Anderlecht in Thursday’s quarter-final first leg.

Ibrahimovic’s departure from United would certainly be a blow to the club’s commercial departure, who have just released a new video promoting one of their numerous commercial sponsors, with Old Trafford greats Bobby Charlton and Denis Law greeting the Swedish striker as a ‘legend’.

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