Jose Mourinho insists Manchester United have not ruled out the possibility of handing Zlatan Ibrahimovic a new contract at Old Trafford.
Significant knee ligament damage brought Ibrahimovic’s outstanding first campaign at Old Trafford to an abrupt halt in April, with the Swede released at the end of his one-year deal.
It was little surprise given the 35-year-old’s huge wages and inability to play until next year, but the striker has stayed on at United to do his rehabilitation and could yet have a future at the club.
The Los Angeles Galaxy – United’s opponents when they kick-off their pre-season tour on Saturday – have long been linked with a move for the well-travelled forward, with a £6million-a-year deal reported to be on the table.
However, United boss Mourinho is keeping a keen eye on Ibrahimovic’s recovery amid claims he could be back in action as early as October.
And now Mourinho admits a new deal at Old Trafford could be on the cards.
“Possible, it’s open,” Mourinho said when asked if there was a chance Ibrahimovic could sign a new deal.
“Of course we wanted to be honest and open and let everything for him to make the decision in case his desire was to leave, so there was not a new contract.
“There was a space of time for everybody to think, to feel, to decide and from his point of view he made the decision of wanting to play football still at the highest level, didn’t want to hide behind such an amazing injury.
“It would be easy for him to hide behind it and to say ‘it’s time stop and go to a different level of football’. He did not want that.
“He was not happy with the way he finished the season. Of course with his first European trophy but not playing and he made the challenge for himself of wanting to keep playing at the highest level.
“Obviously we open our door for him to recover with us, obviously Old Trafford, Carrington is open for him to recover with our people and to be one of us.
“At the same time, let’s make a decision that makes us all happy and if that decision is for him to stay and for us to wait, let’s say until December maybe because I don’t think before December he can be back to competitive football.
“But why not for us to wait for such a good player that gave us so much?
“So we’re speaking, we are changing ideas and again it’s in the hands of (executive vice-chairman Ed) Woodward and Zlatan’s agent, but the important thing is that the final decision is the best for the player.”