Manchester United manager José Mourinho has made it abundantly clear that he wants striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to stay at Old Trafford next season.
The former Swedish international was the hero for his side yet again as he rose to head home the winner in his side’s EFL Cup final win against Southampton on Sunday afternoon, his second goal in a 3-2 victory.
With Ibrahimovic’s contract due to expire at the end of the season, Mourinho is adamant that he won’t beg the 35-year-old to sign an extension – but believes that the fans can play their part in keeping the in-form forward at the club beyond the current campaign.
“I never beg for a player to sign a contract. I never beg for a player to play for me.
“One day, Zlatan decided to leave Inter Milan to join Barcelona, I was very sad, but I did nothing to try to stop him to go, so I don’t beg for players.
“But, if needed, maybe United fans can go to the door of his house, and stay there all night, if needed.
“We all want and believe that he is going to stay with us one more season. He won the game for us because he was outstanding. I was his manager [at Inter]. I know the potential. Only a silly player comes to England when he is 35 and with the successful career that Zlatan has. Only a silly player comes here if he doesn’t feel that he can do it.
“The most important feeling is his feeling. I don’t bring him here if he doesn’t want to come, if he’s not ready. Everything is from him, nothing from me.”
Ibrahimovic’s rampant form this season – 26 goals in 38 games in all competitions – has silenced those who believed he could not hack it in England or that his age would cause a physical decline. To that end, the likelihood at this time is that he will stay for next season at least where a more substantial assault on the Premier League title can be made.
But until that contract is signed, nothing is guaranteed.