Ibrahimovic is getting ready to help the team, not leaving imminently for LA Galaxy – Mourinho

Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recently been linked with an exit from the Theatre of Dreams with the player attracting the interest of the MLS in the United States of America. The reported destination for the Swedish striker was reportedly LA Galaxy, who were interested in the player last year with reports then suggesting Ibrahimovic would sign for the West Coast club in the summer of 2016. Ibrahimovic signed a new one-year contract at Old Trafford though, looking to continue what he started last season.

ESPN have suggested that Ibrahimovic has not yet signed anything to join the MLS side but that they are ready to finance such a deal which would see the Swede lead their line at some point in the future, with the season due to commence in the next few weeks, at least at pre-season level. United manager Jose Mourinho held his pre-conference ahead of the Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday evening on Monday afternoon with journalists expecting to hear something about the Swede. Mourinho, speaking about the speculation, said:

“He told me nothing about it. The first time I read something or listened to something about that was from you [the media] – I read on some website and I listened to some channel. He never mentioned that to me, so I don’t know.”

Mourinho also confirmed that Ibrahimovic was in the last year of his contract, the one-year contract signed in the summer, also confirming once again that the player had not spoken to him about the speculation linking him to the MLS, also adding that the player has stated that he wants to recover and be ready to help the team. Mourinho said:

“Zlatan is in his last year of [his] contract. If – I’m saying if, because you told me, I repeat: he said nothing about it to me – if that is true and Zlatan wants a future in another club, in another country, we are here to help and to create conditions for it to happen – not to make his life difficult. But the last thing that Zlatan told me was he wants to recover totally and feel ready to help the team.”

Mourinho also confirmed that the player was working really hard to get fit and that he was not out of action because he was injured, saying:

“He’s working hard to be fit. I’m not saying injured because he’s not injured. I think he’s in a moment of trying to feel really ready for the demands of Premier League football.”

The one thing that was mentioned by the manager was that if Ibrahimovic did want to leave Manchester United, maybe in the current transfer window, which closes on Wednesday evening in the United Kingdom – the window opens next month in the USA, which will remain open until May 2018, was that if the player wanted a future at another club, in another country, the club would be there to help him and create the conditions for that to happen, not stand in his way. It may suggest that Ibrahimovic, despite being at United currently, could opt to move before the summer.

Of course, this speculation has been brought forward by the media based on reports that LA Galaxy were ready to finance a deal to sign Ibrahimovic. The way the media works now is that any context is ignored as LA Galaxy may have made it clear that this was something they were looking to do after the expiry of Ibrahimovic’s contract, not right now. That is not specified in the reports and journalists have assumed, because it will generate more interest, which turns into money, for these rumours.

LA Galaxy would surely have to pay a transfer fee to land Ibrahimovic before the expiry of his contract and with Mourinho stating that he has not heard anything from the player to suggest these reports are something that is going to happen imminently, Mourinho is right to shoot down the rumors. Ibrahimovic does seem to be working to achieve full fitness to help Manchester United for the remainder of the season. I don’t think the player would keep anything covered up if he was planning to leave imminently.

Stranger things have happened in football though but I expect Ibrahimovic to be ready and raring to go as soon as he feels fit enough to get stuck into the demands of the Premier League and beyond. Having him fit for this stage of the season, with United still in three competitions and not yet giving up in the league, he could be the difference between United ending their season with a trophy, which many would suggest was something United will be doing, seeing as Manchester City are doing the quadruple and all…

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