Saturday 26 May 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to be released as Man United confirm 'retained list'

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of contract
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of contract

Jason Burt

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not expected to be offered a new contract by Manchester United with the club’s ‘retained list’ being published this morning.

The list, released centrally by the Premier League, shows which players are due to leave their clubs when their contracts expire on June 30.

Ibrahimovic’s current 12-month deal ends then with United already having indicated that their summer priority is signing a ‘No 9’ replacement for the injured 35 year-old, who is not expected to play before the turn of the year at the earliest.

United’s main target remains Alvaro Morata although the club are hoping to negotiate a deal for substantially less than the £78 million Real Madrid appear to still be demanding for the 24-year-old Spanish international. Morata is also wanted by AC Milan while Chelsea registered their interest last season.

United accept that it will be impossible for them to enter into negotiations without Real attempting to include talks on David de Gea’s future, although they have made it clear they want the goalkeeper to stay.

A list of back-up options, should Morata not be signed, includes Andrea Belotti – although not at the £87 million release clause Torino insist has to be paid by overseas clubs – and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette. Romelu Lukaku is also being considered but there is a growing expectation that he will return to Chelsea.

Ibrahimovic intends to carry on playing, despite suffering a cruciate knee injury, and his agent Mino Raiola has stated the Swede wants to remain in Europe. However, he will have offers from the MLS – and tellingly he underwent his operation in the United States – and China. He turned down overseas offers to join United after being released by Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

Ibrahimovic would have triggered a 12-month extension to his United contract had he started 31 Premier League games. Instead he managed 27 before his season was ended in the Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht.

Telegraph.co.uk

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