Sunday 18 February 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves door open to Jose Mourinho reunion at Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his goal against Chelsea (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his goal against Chelsea (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Matt Law

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left the door open to the possibility of joining a Premier League club this summer in a move that will alert Jose Mourinho as he plans how to revamp Manchester United's squad if, as expected, he lands the Old Trafford job.

Swedish striker Ibrahimovic is in the final months of his Paris St-Germain contract and is widely expected to quit France at the end of the season.

French sources claim Ibrahimovic has not taken up the lease on his flat in Paris, which, like his contract, runs out in the summer. A move to Miami is believed to be in the pipeline with the 34-year-old buying an apartment there.

PSG's Qatari owners are in talks to buy a stake in David Beckham's Miami Major League Soccer franchise, which Ibrahimovic is expected to join with the club aiming to start playing in the MLS in 2018.

That leaves Ibrahimovic needing a new home for one season before he can start playing in Miami, and Mourinho will consider offering him a deal to join United if he succeeds Louis van Gaal as manager.


Ibrahimovic made a pointed effort to speak to English journalists after PSG's Champions League victory over Chelsea on Tuesday night and, asked if he could play in England before he retires, said: "I have another three months here and then what will happen? Big things will happen. Let's see what happens."

Pressed on whether the Premier League is an attractive option, Ibrahimovic cryptically added: "Let's just say I am in shape."

Mourinho has remained close friends with Ibrahimovic since managing him for one year at Inter Milan, when they won the 2008-09 Serie A title and the forward finished as the league's top scorer with 25 goals. The pair regularly communicate by text message.

There is no effort on either side to disguise their admiration for each other, with Ibrahimovic even remarking after PSG's last-16 first leg victory over Chelsea that "he (Mourinho) should have been here".

Ahead of the match, in which he scored, Ibrahimovic said: "I think everybody will miss Mourinho in the game. But I believe he will be back soon in football and you will soon see him managing another club."

A year earlier, Ibrahimovic had underlined his respect for Mourinho before last season's Champions League tie between PSG and Chelsea by saying: "We worked together for one year at Inter. The feeling was great between us and my only regret is that we were together for only one year."

Mourinho likes to shake up his squads by signing a proven winner or big character and Ibrahimovic falls into both of those categories.

During his second spell at Chelsea, Mourinho first signed Samuel Eto'o and then Didier Drogba, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. He believes the ripple effect and uncertainty of adding big players to a squad helps to motivate the rest of the team to raise the level of effort and performances.

Mourinho blames the fact he did not land a superstar during his last pre-season at Chelsea as one of the main factors why the club started the season so badly and believes Pedro arrived too late in the transfer window to have the immediate desired effect. The gamble on Radamel Falcao failed.

It would not be a mistake Mourinho would allow to happen again at United and Ibrahimovic would be the perfect statement signing, both to the current squad and the club's rivals.

He currently earns £250,000 a week at PSG, but could double it by agreeing to play in the Chinese Super League for one season. There would also be interest from Italy, where Ibrahimovic has played for Inter, Juventus and AC Milan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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