Manchester United are expected to formally confirm on Friday that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be offered a new deal by the club.
The Sweden star enjoyed a brilliant first season in the Premier League, scoring 28 goals in all competitions before a serious knee injury ended his campaign early during United’s Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo at the start of May.
Ibrahimovic signed a one-year deal at United last summer and the club had a 12-month option to extend that by a further year if the player impressed.
While that seemed likely earlier in the campaign, Ibrahimovic’s injury means the club now won’t take up that option and the player will be included on the club’s list of released players to be published by the Premier League on Friday.
Although the 35-year-old has amazed surgeons by the speed of his recovery after the operation on his damaged cruciate, the player is not expected to return to action until 2018.
And releasing last season’s top scorer would free United’s wage bill of a large salary – more than £19m, according to figures published in a recent book – ahead of the transfer window.
United are looking at signing Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, and while their initial £52.4million bid has been rejected, the club remain confident of landing their man once a fee has been agreed.
Jose Mourinho also has a number of other transfer targets in mind ahead of what is likely to be another busy summer at Old Trafford.