In a slightly less extensive Tuesday Manchester United round-up, there has been somewhat of a breakthrough in the ongoing Zlatan Ibrahimovic saga. According to Sky Sports, the Red Devils are making plans for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to undertake a medical at the club soon after the conclusion of Euro 2016.
For United to sign the Swedish international, who created his nation’s equaliser against the Republic of Ireland on Monday, this is seen as the last remaining hurdle to him joining the club on a one-year contract. This would, of course, have happened prior to Euro 2016, but negotiations between the player’s representative and the club took longer than initially expected.
Ibrahimovic capped his final season at Paris Saint Germain, who he is set to leave come the end of his contract this summer, by scoring 38 league goals in 31 appearances. Despite being 34 years of age, the Swede was able to finish the campaign as the most prolific player in France, having successfully converted 28.4% of his total chances.
The powerful centre-forward with bring an huge presence to Old Trafford, as Joe Mourinho will be fully aware from his time working alongside him in the past. This will undoubtedly rub off on the younger players at the club, the likes of Anthony Martial, for example, who will grow ever-more confident, as a result.
A one year deal for his services represents very little risk for the Red Devils. If he is unable to adapt to the Premier League, which somehow seems very unlikely, they will be well within their right to let him walk away from Old Trafford at the end of the campaign. For the short-term, it appears to be an ideal piece of business for all parties involved.
In other news, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been told to make a decision about his future at the Bundesliga club by the end of the week, according to reports in the German media. This news emerges amid interest in the Armenian from Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.
The creative midfielder hasn’t yet made up his mind whether to stay with the German side and, according to Bild, Dortmund officials have told him he must make a swift decision. Should he choose to leave the Westfalenstadion, the Premier League is likely to be his next destination – with several English clubs circling.
And, it is clear to see why he is in such high demand. Mkhitaryan finished the 2015/16 campaign as the German top flight’s most creative player in the final third. He fashioned 15 assists for his team-mates in total, as well a weighing in with a further 67 key passes. Meanwhile, he scored an impressive 20 goals across all competitions.
United are lacking quality in wide positions, and the Armenian international’s arrival could go some way to alleviating Jose Mourinho’s troubles in this area. With Jesse Lingard and Memphis Depay experiencing mixed fortunes on the flanks last term, the Portuguese head coach could see Mkhitaryan as a more viable option.
A player who’s innovative ability can only be rivalled by Juan Mata at Old Trafford, the Armenian is considerably more comfortable playing on the flank than his Spanish counterpart. Should Mourinho keep faith in the latter, Mkhitaryan’s arrival should see him shifted inside – to a number 10 role – as the duo form an creative hub, ahead of a deeper defensive midfield pairing.
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