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March 19, 2017
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, has denied speculation linking the Manchester United striker with a move to Napoli once his contract at Old Trafford expires this summer. Meanwhile, AS Monaco have refused to rule out an exit for Kylian Mbappe.
Raiola appeared on Italian station Radio Crc (h/t the Mirror) and rejected claims his client, who has already played for Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan, was considering a move to Naples.
“Napoli are not part of our plans at this time,” Raiola said. “Things can change in life, but I think it’s nearly impossible. I have never spoken with [Napoli president Aurelio] De Laurentiis about Ibra. … I think it’s a bit too early to talk about the transfer window.”
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News recently sourced reports from Ibrahimovic’s native Sweden that suggested the veteran forward will pen a new one-year contract to remain with United:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
On Ibrahimovic staying at United for, told the Swedish journalist who wrote the story is ‘basically never wrong’. Good news for #mufc.
3/19/2017, 11:06:38 AM
Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho will undoubtedly be doing all in his power to convince his talismanic frontman to stay too, following a terrific maiden season in the Premier League.
The 35-year-old has netted 26 times across all competitions this term and has previously spoken of his desire to leave a legacy at the Theatre of Dreams, something he’s already well on his way to doing:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to make history at Manchester United 🔥 https://t.co/OLDn2u3yCc
3/18/2017, 9:39:04 AM
However, there are bound to be suitors vying for the soon-to-be free agent’s signature come the end of the campaign considering the Swede has almost guaranteed his employers goals wherever his career has taken him.
Sports lawyer Jake Cohen recently spoke of the signals surrounding Ibrahimovic’s future, suggesting they hint the striker is inclined to stick around for another year:
Jake Cohen @JakeFCohen
Ibrahimovic has been free to sign a pre-contract with other clubs for months. No news is probably good news for Manchester United. #mufc https://t.co/80iVxPNUeN
3/19/2017, 2:29:25 PM
While United’s incumbent hitman is understood to be fending off interest from elsewhere, United have received hope in their pursuit of a potential heir to his throne after Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev could not confirm the club will be able to retain starlet Mbappe.
Vasilyev spoke to French radio station RMC (h/t Metro‘s George Bellshaw) and admitted that while Mbappe is happy and progressing well at the Stade Louis II, there’s no guarantee the club can keep hold of his talents:
Can I guarantee that Mbappe will stay? [A guarantee] does not exist. Not in football, not in private life, not in society. I cannot answer you.
He is shining, it is a source of great pride for us, and we are going to gently begin negotiations for him to stay at Monaco.
He is happy, everything is going well, he is surrounded by a project and there is no reason for anything to be done differently.
Mbappe has enjoyed a breakthrough season of meteoric proportions this term. Mohammed Ali of Goal recently illustrated the 18-year-old’s powers as one of Ligue 1’s most prolific predators in front of goal, having since increased his overall tally for the season to 19:
Mohammed Ali @mohammedali_93
18 goals for Mbappé this season – 8 in the last 7 in Ligue 1. A goal every 85 minutes in the league.
3/19/2017, 2:50:12 PM
There is truth to Vasilyev’s comments in that Mbappe risks throwing his progress off course if he were to leave the French Riviera for pastures new in the summer.
Monaco’s vice-president justly noted Mbappe possesses “incredible potential,” which is precisely why United—who may need a striker if Ibrahimovic leaves this summer—are understood to be chasing his services.