Friday 18 January 2019

Mourinho reveals Zlatan to extend Reds deal

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Jose Mourinho confirmed that Manchester United will exercise their option to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic's contract for a second season.

Ibrahimovic joined United on a free transfer from Paris St Germain in the summer on a one-year-old deal with the option of a further 12 months.

And despite reports linking the Sweden international with a move to the United States, Mourinho, speaking on the eve of his side's crucial UEFA Europa League clash with Feyenoord, said he wants him to stay at Old Trafford.

Mourinho said: "Zlatan's situation is simple - he has one plus one year at the club and we are happy with him and we are going to execute the option of a second season.

"He is happy, he's committed and he is loving his life as a football player at Manchester United and this is probably the last big challenge of his wonderful career.

"I think it is perfect for him to be here for 18 months more, and then he owns the decision about his future."

The 35-year-old stressed negotiations have yet to be concluded but suggested the extension of his Old Trafford contract is a mere formality.

Ibrahimovic said: "For the moment we haven't had any discussions. I have a contract that says one plus one years. I feel fresh, I feel in shape and physically if I feel like now, probably it will be a second year.

"I want to be realistic with myself - I want to be able to perform like I can do and not waste time. Now it is probably a yes, but I need discussions."

On Mourinho, Ibrahimovic added: "Everybody knows Jose is a winner, he wants to win and he has a great history and a great career and he's here now, so he wants to make the same thing with this situation. He is working hard just like everybody else."

Meanwhile, United go into tonight's game with qualification for the Europa League knockout stages hanging in the balance as they currently sit third in the group behind joint leaders Feyenoord and Fenerbahce. Mourinho is set to give Henrikh Mkhitaryan a rare chance to impress, while Luke Shaw is also ready to return for the first time since Mourinho questioned the full-back's apparent unwillingness to play through the pain barrier at Swansea a fortnight ago.

Mourinho added: "It's simple - we need four points to qualify and it doesn't matter what happens in the matches where we are not involved. There is no space for a defeat, because (it is) a game where we have only two options and the third option, defeat, (means) we are out. We are going to approach the game knowing it is a knockout game for us and we cannot lose."

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