Manchester United are thought to be keen on extending the contract of superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic beyond even the optional second year of the deal he signed last summer as they look to continue reaping the rewards of the evergreen Swede into a potential third season.
Manager Jose Mourinho already publicly confirmed several weeks ago that United would be triggering the contractual clause to keep Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford until the end of the 2017/18 season. But now a claim from the Sun has it he will stay longer still.
It is suggested that United want Ibrahimovic, who is currently the Premier League’s joint leading goalscorer with 14 goals from his first 20 appearances, to sign fresh terms that will extend his contract to 2019.
Since getting over a minor six-game goal drought, the 35-year-old has been almost unstoppable. He found the net yet again against Liverpool on Sunday and has now scored 13 goals in his 13 games in all competitions.
He has shown no signs of slowing down despite his age, and should Ibrahimovic agree to the new two-year deal it would see him remain a United player until he is just four months shy of his 38th birthday.
But even with rumours that Zlatan could still be around for two-and-a-half more seasons there is also talk that United are becoming increasingly confident of landing another high profile forward in the transfer market at the end of this campaign: Antoine Griezmann.
Gossip surrounding the Frenchman and a move to Old Trafford has been growing for some time and the Independent now claims Griezmann is ‘extremely keen’ on the move after intermediaries representing both camps are said to have been talking for a number of months.
The presence of Paul Pogba at United only makes a move more attractive – Griezmann has previously spoken of his desire to play with his international team-mate at club level – while a €100m release clause appears to make the 25-year-old quite attainable in United’s big budget world.
There is apparently a verbal agreement already in place, while Griezmann has a squad number waiting for him, too – exactly which isn’t specified. But, if true, it’s difficult to imagine it would be any other than the number seven shirt soon to be vacated by Memphis Depay.
Griezmann apparently already has a prospective shirt number at #MUFC
If true hard to imagine that’s anything other than the soon vacated #7 pic.twitter.com/8mbGZK3fCJ
— Jamie Spencer (@jamiespencer155) 18. siječnja 2017.
Only the outcome of an appeal on Atletico Madrid’s FIFA-imposed transfer ban looks as though it could jeopardise things. City rivals Real had their ban reduced to just a single transfer window on appeal and Atletico are waiting for their own verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
If it is reduced and they are allowed to sign new players, the 2014 La Liga champions are tipped to chase unsettled Chelsea striker Diego Costa as a Griezmann replacement.