EPL : Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be Mourinho’s first signing
Mourinho is keen on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, John Stones and Nemanja Matic
Jose Mourinho will be named Manchester United manager in the next 48 hours and is determined to make Zlatan Ibrahimovic his first signing at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic is a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain but would still demand an £8million signing-on fee, spread over a two-year contract, and wages of more than £200,000 a week.
The 34-year-old Sweden star is the kind of iconic figure wanted by United chief Ed Woodward to launch the Mourinho era, and is believed to be keen on working with his old Inter Milan coach again.
Mourinho’s appointment moved a step closer when his agent Jorge Mendes met Woodward in London on Tuesday. They agreed terms on a three-year contract worth £45m and discussed possible transfer targets.
Those include Everton defender John Stones, who Mourinho tried to sign for Chelsea last summer. Mourinho will face fierce competition from Manchester City and their new manager Pep Guardiola in what could be the first of many battles between the fierce rivals.
Mourinho’s contract was the main topic of conversation when Mendes met Woodward for lunch at a London restaurant on Tuesday, but it was by no means the only subject on the menu.
Mendes will have an even more influential role at Old Trafford once Mourinho takes over in the summer.
And incoming transfers were also discussed as United prepare to hand the Portuguese coach a £200m transfer fund to turn them into title challengers again.
Ibrahimovic and Stones are two names at the top of United’s list of targets.
However, Manchester City may try to steal a march on their neighbours by making a bid for Stones as early as next week.
Barcelona are also interested in the England defender even though he struggled for form this season.
Mourinho is interested in signing midfielder Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, as well as Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Mario.
United also hope that Mendes’ influence at Real Madrid could help smooth any negotiations for the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane.
Mourinho’s appointment could be confirmed within the next 48 hours after Woodward and Mendes agreed terms on a three-year contract worth £45m.
Lawyers are finalising the details before United confirm that the 53-year-old will succeed the sacked Louis van Gaal, although it is understood that he is unlikely to be unveiled until he starts work this summer.