Manchester United forced to rush Zlatan Ibrahimovic decision following Milan interest

If Jose Mourinho had wanted to bide his time over a decision as to whether to offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic a new contract at Old Trafford, interest in the striker from AC Milan could well force the United manager’s hand. The 35-year old is currently sidelined with a knee injury that will keep him out until Christmas, a factor in United not offering the Swede an extension to his contract at the end of last season. But despite his advancing years and injury, Zlatan hasn’t been short of offers, and if United want to keep the striker at Old Trafford for another season, they may have to move quickly.

Ibrahimovic was an instant hit in England last year, scoring 17 goals in 28 Premier League matches and ending his first season at United with 28 goals in all competitions. A serious knee injury suffered in April brought a premature end to the season for the striker, who has been undertaking his rehabilitation at the club’s Carrington training complex. Mourinho has admitted he is very open to the possibility of having Zlatan for the second half of the season, and it has long appeared a new contract offer would be offered to the veteran.

United may not have things their own way, though, with Milan now reportedly exploring the possibility of signing a player who scored 56 goals in 85 appearances for the club between 2010-12. On the back of four disappointing years, AC Milan’s new owners have spent more than £160 million during the summer in a bid to return the club to the top of Italian football, currently around 13/2 with the football betting to top Serie A. Having been linked with the likes of Andrea Belotti, Diego Costa and Nikola Kalinic, Milan now appear to have set their sights on Ibrahimovic.

There has also been significant interest in the former Ajax, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan and PSG forward from across the Atlantic, with two MLS franchises making serious enquiries about Ibrahimovic. As well as LA Galaxy – the club that tempted David Beckham to the States in 2007 – there has also been interest from new franchise LA FC, an outfit backed by a number of Hollywood stars, most notably Will Ferrell. But despite the huge deals being offered to Ibrahimovic from MLS, the striker is believed to still want to compete on the game’s biggest stages.

For the majority of United fans, the decision to offer Zlatan a new deal is something of a no brainer. Having made such a huge impact in his one season at the club, Ibrahimovic showed he is still one of the game’s best strikers despite his age. While it remains to be seen what sort of player he is when he returns from his knee injury, if we know anything about Zlatan, it’s that we shouldn’t be surprised if he does so better than ever. And by the time the season reaches the Christmas period, having someone like Ibrahimovic in the squad could well be the difference between winning the league and not.

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