Zlatan Ibrahimovic was brilliant for Manchester United, but his one year stay in the Premier League has, today, come to an end after Manchester United officially named him on their list of released players.
Ibrahimovic, currently recovering from knee ligament surgery, was understood to be keen to stay, but with his rehab set to continue until into 2018, United have decided to reinvest his reported wages of £370,000-a-week into a new striker.
Arriving at Old Trafford on a free transfer last summer, he soon set about living up to his massive reputation (and a contract to match). A flurry of goals followed, along with the usual self-promotion and grandiose predictions and third person references from the man himself.
Seventeen Premier League strikes, six in Europe and a League Cup winner against Southampton, the Ibrahimovic bandwagon was in full swing. Talk of another year was rife and confidence was high another deal could be reached. This was brought to a screeching halt, however, when Ibrahimovic suffered a gruesome looking knee injury in the Europa League quarterfinal against Anderlecht. After scans revealed the full extent of the damage, the Swede underwent surgery, and despite surprising surgeons with his progress, United have decided that a new contract is out of the question.
Replacing his 28 goals is no mean feat, with Antoine Griezemann, Mourinho’s first choice to replace the Swedish talisman, already committing to Atletico Madrid next season, it is understood that the United manager is now looking at £60million Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata to score the goals to fire United into title contention next season. The club are also ear marking funds saved from Ibrahimovic’s wages for Real Madrid centre-half Raphael Varane; while also having interest in Monaco right-back Fabinho.
Particular off field highlights include posting a video of himself celebrating Christmas by doing snow angels and sit ups in his boxer shorts, a picture of him as the next King of Sweden, claiming sole responsibility for persuading Paul Pogba to return to Manchester from Juventus, and stealing the show in the Europa League final; despite not even playing, He then become the top player from the final by having numerous superb photos taken celebrating with fans.
Who ever comes in, no one will ever be able to fill the void left by arguably the most charismatic footballer to grace the Premier League, no matter how brief a time it was for.