Thursday, 30 June 2016

Premier League: Ibrahimovic claims he will join Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed he is set to join Manchester United, although the Premier League club are yet to officially confirm the signing.

The Swedish striker published an Instagram post on Thursday in which he indicated he will move to Old Trafford, having left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season and been heavily linked with United for months.

"My next destination is @manchesterunited. #iamcoming."

Should the deal be confirmed, the 34-year-old will become United's latest signing under new manager Jose Mourinho, the pair reuniting after previously working together at Inter.

Ibrahimovic departed PSG following the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, having won Ligue 1 in each of his four seasons in France.

Retiring from international football after Sweden's group-stage exit at Euro 2016, the talented and outspoken centre-forward has enjoyed a glittering career, winning domestic titles at Ajax, Inter, Barcelona and AC Milan.

He also lifted the Scudetto twice at Juventus, but saw both championships revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal.

Although he is past his physical prime, Ibrahimovic has remained a potent force, scoring 38 goals in Ligue 1 last season.

The recruitment of such a high-profile star represents a statement of intent from United in keeping with their decision to hire the combative Mourinho as Louis van Gaal's successor.

The arrival of the pair at Old Trafford is unlikely to please incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who experienced a fractious relationship with Ibrahimovic during their lone season together at Barca in 2009-10.

The Swede has since launched a series of attacks on the Spanish coach's character, while the animosity between Mourinho and Guardiola was a noted feature of the former's tenure as Real Madrid coach.

Ibrahimovic is likely to occupy a central role in United's frontline, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in support.

The future of club captain Wayne Rooney, who struggled for form and fitness last season, is uncertain under Mourinho. The 30-year-old had begun a transition into midfield under Van Gaal, but it remains to be seen if the Portuguese will choose to use the England skipper in a deeper role, with Ibrahimovic set to provide high-calibre competition for a spot in attack.

United's off-season recruitment started with the capture of Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal for a fee reported to be approximately £30million.