Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United’s top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be around next season.
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Ibrahimovic, 35, has a deal which runs out in the summer but Mourinho has stated multiple times that he believes the Swedish striker will stay at Old Trafford for another season.
Speaking ahead of United’s clash with Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Mourinho is defiant Ibra will remain in Manchester.
“I’m totally convinced that he is going to stay. He came with the intention of staying two years,” Mourinho said. “We are going to try to share with him in a fantastic way probably the last year of his career at the highest level. He came with the intention of two years and has been better than every expectation – maybe apart from his own. He knows we will try and improve next season for what will be the last year of his career at the highest level. I am convinced he is staying. No problem with his family. I offer him extra days off to go to Sweden, he never goes.”
It is likely Zlatan, who has scored 15 PL goals this season, has offers on the table from elsewhere to finish off his playing days. Perhaps Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League from 2018 onwards?
Wherever he ends up, Mourinho doesn’t expect plenty of ins and outs in the summer.
United’s Executive Chairman Ed Woodward revealed record revenue levels on Thursday as their quarterly financial report was released and he stated that there wouldn’t be much “churn” in the playing squad this summer.
Mourinho had to look up what churn meant but has added it to his vocabulary and agrees with Woodward that United’s transfer policy will be as follows.
“We know that we have a squad that like every squad needs changes, but we know also that our squad has potential. Our squad has good players, many of them in their best age of evolution,” Mourinho said. “It is not our philosophy, independent of the numbers, if we can spend 10 or 100 million. Independent of the numbers it is also the philosophy, the idea, we look at it in this way. We prefer to bring two, three, four players, but good players, players that feel an idea of football that we try to to play and improve our squad.
“We are not interested in selling six or seven and buy six or seven and from this six or seven only one or two or of the quality of the others we are selling. We are stable. We think that our market in the summer will be soft, natural. Some players to leave, some players to come but in a very natural way.”
There you go.
Expect a soft, natural summer transfer window, United fans. Cue the “Antoine Griezmann to United for $130 million” and “Six stars heading to United” reports.
In all seriousness, Mourinho is right. United probably need a new center back, right back and maybe left back, while also a strong defensive presence in midfield and a new striker to eventually replace Ibra should be top of the list. Apart from that, they’re good.
With Mourinho’s United looked solid as rock after going 15 games unbeaten in the Premier League, if they do finish in the top four (currently they’re two points outside of it) then that will obviously help them attract a better caliber of players.
Then again, with the financial figures we saw released earlier this week it’s clear to see their spending power remains untouched by a relatively dormant period on the pitch.