Belfast Telegraph

Premier League retained lists could give clue over Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Manchester United future will become clearer when the Premier League's retained list is revealed on Friday.

The 35-year-old made quite the impact at Old Trafford after arriving from Paris St Germain last summer, penning a one-year deal with the option of another.

Ibrahimovic scored at Wembley in both United's Community Shield and EFL Cup successes, as well as playing an important role in their triumphant Europa League campaign.

That competition looks increasingly likely to have witnessed his last appearance for United, having sustained serious knee ligament damage in April's quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht.

United have remained quiet about Ibrahimovic's future since the end of the campaign, so his name will be one of first to look out for when the Premier League announces its clubs' retained and released list on Friday. The list shows who is being let go at the end of their contract on June 30, although situations can still change.

Press Association Sport understands that those behind the scenes at Old Trafford have been impressed by Ibrahimovic's recovery, yet there remains understandable questions as to how he will be when returning to the first-team.

The Swede will be 36 by the time he next plays, with the serious knee injury expected to keep the striker out until early 2018.

Then there is the expense of retaining the highly-paid striker at a club that he will be unable to play for half the campaign.

Ibrahimovic's injury means a new number nine is high on United's list of priorities this summer.

Reported target Romelu Lukaku appears close to leaving Everton for former club Chelsea, while Torino striker Andrea Belotti and Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata are other options.

Mourinho has made no secret of his admiration for Javier Hernandez in recent months, saying he would not have sold the striker to Bayer Leverkusen before underlining how a player like him was missing at United.

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