José Mourinho mulls over Manchester United move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic

LONDON. KAZINFORM - José Mourinho has prioritised the signing of an A-list centre-forward when he becomes Manchester United manager, with the Portuguese considering a move for the free agent Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose favoured destination is Old Trafford, The Guardian reports.

Mourinho's decision to target an elite striker in the summer market confirms Wayne Rooney will no longer regularly play in attack. The captain has previously acknowledged Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are now better suited to the No9 role.
If Mourinho decides to sign Ibrahimovic or any other high-class finisher, it means Rashford would be the deputy centre-forward and Martial would continue to operate mainly from a wide left position. Rooney would drop back into midfield, where he operated in the closing part of the season, and also offer an option at No10.
Mourinho enjoyed a good relationship with Ibrahimovic when the 53-year-old was in charge of Internazionale, between 2008 and 2010. The pair worked together in the Portuguese's first season before Ibrahimovic left for Barcelona. At 34 the Swede is vastly experienced and a proven leader of the attack in La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, three of Europe's major leagues.
United do not have Champions League football to help attract elite players. Ibrahimovic is entering his career's final phase and as United is his first choice he may prove Mourinho's best option. Ibrahimovic is viewed by the United executive as being an ideal commercial acquisition, given his global profile. He would cost nothing so the club would countenance paying him the £250,000-a-week salary the Swede may demand, given the revenues yielded by his presence at the 20-times champions.
Mourinho could be officially announced as Louis van Gaal's successor as early as Wednesday although it may take until the end of the week to finalise his contract. United's executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, met Jorge Mendes, the representative of Mourinho, in London on Tuesday to discuss the Portuguese's demands. It is understood that complexities around Mourinho's image rights plus the precise terms of his backroom staff are slowing discussions down. Mourinho is expected to seal a three-year deal worth in excess of the £7.5m salary he earned at Chelsea before being sacked last December.
Ryan Giggs has been offered a role on Mourinho's coaching staff but could still decide to end a 25-year association with the club. The Portuguese is likely to want to work with his long-term assistant, Rui Faria, casting doubt on the role which has been offered to Giggs.
No official confirmation on the remainder of Van Gaal's backroom team has been made, but it has been reported that the assistant coaches Albert Stuivenberg and Frans Hoek, as well as the performance analyst Max Reckers, have left.
Giggs has been assured there is a future at United for him. The Welshman must decide if he wishes to continue at United or that now is the time to leave. As the No2 to Van Gaal, who was sacked on Monday, Giggs was viewed as a potential successor to the Dutchman. Now that he has been overlooked for Mourinho, Giggs may decide to leave a club he first represented as a player in 1991.
Daley Blind has become the first United player to defend Van Gaal. The Dutchman, who made 57 appearances under the 64-year-old last season, said: "I always worked well with him and would have been keen that the co-operation lasted longer. A manager who has achieved so much already deserved more respect.
"Even though there was so much being written about him losing his job over the last months, he always looked to protect and shelter us.
"It is not easy for a coach if you are repeatedly being fired in the newspapers. Still, we as a squad kept believing in the manager and showed that with our FA Cup win. That we did together for the supporters, the manager and for ourselves. It was in the end a good finish to the season. If it is true that José Mourinho is coming, then it is also a manager who has achieved much. I will have to show what I can do."
Memphis Depay, who Van Gaal dropped from the FA Cup final squad, welcomed Mourinho's arrival, saying it would be a "nice prospect". Of his now former manager the winger, who Van Gaal signed for £25m last summer, Depay told De Telegraaf: "A love-hate relationship? I do not know. And now he leaves - this is how things go in football and in life. You learn and you become stronger."

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