Paul Parker: Jose Mourinho was wrong to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes Jose Mourinho was wrong to offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic a one-year extension at Old Trafford.

The Swede, who arrived over the summer on a one-year deal, was offered an extension as part of a clause on his existing contract.

Ibrahimovic, speaking prior to Man United’s 4-0 win over Feyenoord, expressed his determination to continue progressing after receiving the chance to play under Mourinho for another year.

However Parker, speaking to ESPN, has expressed his scepticism over Zlatan’s contract extension.

“It’s far too soon [to give Ibrahimovic an extension]. If it was any player, it’s too soon to make a decision like that,” he said.

“For [Mourinho] to come out and say that, he’s jumped the gun.

“Has he got a reason to say that? I really don’t know. Has it come from above? Did the hierarchy want him to say that? He’s maybe been told by the Glaziers to say that.

“On a playing perspective, you’ve got to say [Ibrahimovic] hasn’t done enough. When he’s not scoring goals, he doesn’t really contribute to Manchester United in a good football sense.

“The way they play when Ibrahimovic is on the pitch takes away the flow because he’s an easy out-ball.

“Mourinho has put himself under pressure. I don’t think he can see anything outside of himself and the mirror.

“I think it’s a bad move on the part of United. With the players in the dressing room, you’d be thinking as a player: ‘What have I been doing? What’s going on here?’

“He [Ibrahimovic] is Mourinho’s go-to man and he’s the one that kind of manipulates the players to say the right thing about the manager.”

Normally, handing a contract extension to a 35-year-old ought to be taken with a heavy pint of salt. After all, how many 35-year-olds thrive at the highest level, especially within the realm of English football?

Then again, Zlatan is an entirely unique specimen. Most players of his age feel inclined to wind down, find a nice house in Los Angeles and happily subside into semi-retirement in the MLS. Not Zlatan.

The Swede remains determined to dominate at the highest level, to claim more major honours before his legs call time on a magnificent career. His sheer presence acts as a galvanising influence in itself, such is the 35-year-old immense desire to bulldoze anything that comes his way.

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