Jose Mourinho has made it clear that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not leave Manchester United for LA Galaxy in March amid rumours suggesting a potential move away for the 36-year-old.
The Swede signed another one year deal over the summer and miraculously returned to action for the 4-1 win over Newcastle United in November.
But he struggled to reimpose himself on the starting XI, making just two starts in total before being ruled out for a month in December following continued problems with his knee, prompting reports of a potential move to LA Galaxy, who expressed interest in him over the summer.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the visit to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, the 55-year-old was adamant that Zlatan was determined to fight for his place at Old Trafford this season.
“The first time I read something I listen something about that was from you, the media,” he said.
“I read in somewhere and I listen some television channel. He never mentioned that to me so I don’t know.
“Zlatan is in the last year of contract. I repeat he’s said nothing about it to me. But if that is true and Zlatan wants a future in another club in another country then I give to help and create conditions for that to happen to make his life difficult.
“But I repeat the only thing Zlatan told – or the last thing Zlatan told me – was that he wants to recover totally and feel ready to help the team. That’s the last thing I heard from him.”
Jose on @Ibra_Official: "He's working hard to be fit. I'm not saying injured, because he's not injured. I think he's trying to feel really ready for the demands of Premier League football." #MUFC pic.twitter.com/ZwVE1IpvSd
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 29, 2018
Perhaps that last quote is crucial here. Zlatan clearly wasn’t quite ready for the onslaught of Premier League football upon his premature return and his future at this club will depend on whether he can receive the minutes he needs to return to the level he was at last season.
He may not be thinking about a move away just yet. Zlatan doesn’t just throw in the towel that easily. But if his predicament at Old Trafford doesn’t change over the next two months then he will, you sense, seek out a different challenge.
Whatever happens, Zlatan needs to announce himself properly when he returns from injury.