Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has outlined his intention to stay at the club for another season, although he’s said “there’s nothing done yet” in terms of his future.
The veteran forward has been a huge hit at Old Trafford since joining in the summer on a free transfer, scoring 15 goals in 24 Premier League appearances so far. United supporters will be delighted to know he’s keen to stick around.
“The option is already fulfilled,” he said of the prospect of extending his deal by another season, per Sky Sports. “But there’s nothing done yet.”
The forward agreed a one-year deal with United in the summer, although as noted in the report, United can secure his future for the 2017-18 season, too.
Ibrahimovic was asked whether it was a case of being patient in regards to a renewal. “From my side. We’ll wait and see,” he added. “Let’s see what happens.”
Despite his advancing years, the 35-year-old has been a nightmare for defenders in the Premier League to deal with. These numbers from Match of the Day sum up just how impressive he’s been in front of goal for a player of his age:
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) February 5, 2017
For manager Jose Mourinho, Ibrahimovic is a wonderful player to have around, and in November, the Portuguese made it clear the Red Devils will be keeping Ibrahimovic on.
“We are going to execute the option of a second season,” he said, per BBC Sport. “After that he can do what he wants.”
The striker’s goal record speaks for itself, as Ibrahimovic has found the net frequently wherever he’s plied his trade across Europe. But his influence extends beyond knocking the ball in the net.
As a focal point, there are few better centre-forwards in the world. With his back to goal, Ibrahimovic is indomitable, taking possession in tight areas, putting his burly frame between the defender and the ball and bringing United’s other attacking stars into the game.
Per former Sunderland goalkeeper David Preece, the ex-PSG man has also showed a savviness in his play that few can rival:
Great play by Zlatan to obstruct Gomes so Martial could finish that off. Class players show initiative above convention. Brilliant #motd
— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 11, 2017
Ibrahimovic seems to have relished being one of the elder statesmen in the squad, too, forming friendships with the likes of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. The latter has not been a regular starter as of late, and the Swede has praised his temperament during a testing time.
“He’s positive, training hard and has a lot of energy,” Ibrahimovic revealed. “Obviously he wants to play. It’s not like we go around to everybody and talk. It’s about the moment, when the situation is there. When we eat breakfast he sits beside me and we talk. Everybody talks to everybody.”
Although there’s no denying Ibrahimovic has an ego, different sides of him have been seen since his arrival in the Premier League. His willingness to engage with the club’s younger players, provide a positive role model and lead by example have been a huge positive in United’s campaign.
Often players in the twilight of their career can start to struggle overnight, and that’s something a team needs to be wary of when handing out contract extensions to stars in their mid-30s. But based on the shape he’s kept himself in and the standards he continues to set each week, Ibrahimovic is well worth keeping around for the Red Devils.