Jose Mourinho is convinced Zlatan Ibrahimovic will still be at Old Trafford next season – a campaign the Manchester United manager believes could be the striker’s last at the “highest level”.
The 35-year-old has made a mockery of the doubters since arriving in the summer, with last weekend’s strike against Leicester seeing him become the first United player since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement to reach 20 goals.
Ibrahimovic has plenty of time to extend that record given United are still fighting on four fronts and it appears a matter of when rather than if the one-year option in his contract is triggered to extend his deal beyond the summer.
The striker has, though, been linked to Napoli, along with clubs in China and the United States – not that Mourinho imagines such a move will come to fruition.
In fact, the United manager believes Ibrahimovic will be determined to make the most of what could be his final year at the peak of his powers.
“I’m totally convinced that he is going to stay,” Mourinho said. “He came with the intention of staying two years.
“The first year is going – probably not in his mind because he is a very ambitious guy – better than every expectation.
“He knows that we are going to try again to improve next season and try to share with him in a fantastic way probably the last year of his career at the highest level, so I’m convinced that he’s staying.
“He’s also adapted to the club, he’s adapted to the situation. I don’t see any problem with his family.
“I give him the possibility of an extra day off to go somewhere, to go Sweden – he doesn’t want, he never goes. Everything is stable with him, so I’m totally convinced that he is going to stay.”