Premier League

Top 5 Rumours: Man Utd To Re-sign Ibrahimović?

 • by Tom Bodell
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José Mourinho had barely finished celebrating Manchester United’s Europa League final victory over Ajax when he issued his demands to the club’s board.

The Portuguese made it clear to United’s power-brokers – and to all those watching at home too – he wanted four players in order to challenge for the Premier League title and Champions League.

So far United have delivered three. Centre-back Victor Lindelöf has arrived from Benfica, striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton and holding midfielder Nemanja Matić from Chelsea.

But there is work still to be done and United are still being linked with numerous players ahead of the Premier League season getting underway this weekend.

Using Football Whispers’ unique algorithm, we’ve analysed the top five Manchester United transfer rumours; where they’re coming from, whether they’re valid and how likely the moves are to happen.

Manchester United transfer targets

Ivan Perišić – 4.1

It is no secret the Croatian winger is a Manchester United transfer target. The Red Devils have been haggling with Inter Milan over a price for Perišić for several weeks now.

However, the deal is in jeopardy with the Nerazzurri reportedly offering the 28-year-old a new contract to remain at the San Siro.

Perisić is not out of contract until 2020 but an extension, as well as a pay rise, will ensure the wideman remains in Italy.

Not your typical winger, Perišić’s work ethic make him an extremely attractive proposition for Mourinho, who has never fully trusted Anthony Martial to play on the left wing.

Inter had, reportedly, been keen to make the Frenchman part of any deal with a season-long loan. However, with Perišić expected to ink a new agreement to stay in Milan, that could be off too.

Speaking last month about Perišić’s future, Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said: “There was a contact a few weeks ago [with United], then the negotiation stopped, so for me it is closed.”

Serge Aurier – 3.6

United’s chances of landing Paris Saint-Germain right-back Aurier look to have been boosted by the French side’s world-record signing of Neymar from Barcelona.

That £198million fee means PSG need to offload some players and Aurier, who has been superseded at the Parc des Princes by the arrival of Dani Alves, could fetch up to €40million.

According to French sports paper L’Equipe, the Parisians are happy to sell the Ivory Coast international as they bid to ensure they do not fall foul of Financial Fair Play regulations.

The big question is what the signing of Aurier would mean for Antonio Valencia. The Ecuadorian filled in at right-back superbly last season but would most likely give way to the 24-year-old defender.

Although cover at right-back is desirable for Mourinho, who looks set to loan youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah to Crystal Palace, there are other positions which need to be filled more pressingly.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 3.4

When Ibrahimović suffered a season-ending knee ligament injury in April, United’s plans for the 2017/18 campaign were thrown into disarray.

However, the £75million signing of Lukaku from Everton means the Red Devils have a strapping No.9 to lead the line once more.

But with Marcus Rashford still learning his craft and Martial scarcely allowed to play at centre-forward, competition for places is needed. Yet whoever comes in must accept playing second fiddle to the beefy Belgian.

That is why Ibrahimović could be the ideal solution. The 35-year-old Swede, who scored 28 times in all competitions last season, is a free agent after being released by United.

But his relationship with Mourinho, forged during the pair’s time at Inter Milan, means he could yet return to Old Trafford when fit.

Former club AC Milan are also keen but the lure of a final crack at the Premier League might be too much to turn down.

Sergi Roberto – 2.6

The Barcelona midfielder is a somewhat left-field name given United have just spent £40million to recruit Mourinho’s former Chelsea lieutenant Matić.

Roberto filled in at right-back for much of last season but is expected to return to his favoured role this term following the addition of Nélson Semedo from Benfica.

With Andrés Iniesta no longer at the peak of his powers, the Catalan midfielder could find himself promoted to a regular starting berth in his preferred position.

However, a reported £36million release clause in the 25-year-old’s Barça contract had appeared to make Roberto available. But the Daily Mail claim United have seen an offer of that value turned down by the Blaugrana, meaning the clause is higher or does not exist.

United will face competition for Roberto’s signature too. The Spanish international is a Chelsea transfer target after the Blues sold Matić to United at the end of July.

Gareth Bale – 2.5

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Bale Still Perfect For Man Utd

Rumours of Bale moving to United refuse to go away despite the player’s agent doing his best to quash speculation. “It’s a ridiculous, stupid story,” Jonathan Barnett told BBC Sport at the end of July.

However, only today reports have emerged from Spain suggesting Bale has told Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modrić – via WhatsApp – he is ready to return to England and join United.

In truth, Bale’s future at Real hinges on who arrives at the Bernabéu this summer.

Los Blancos will not want to be left behind by Neymar’s move to PSG – particularly if Barça react by signing Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé or Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

If either of those players pitch up at Real then Bale will be sacrificed. That will change Barnett’s perspective on a move to Old Trafford.