Gary Neville: Jose Mourinho cannot afford to lose Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the summer

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville believes that Jose Mourinho cannot afford to lose Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the summer.

The Swede, who signed a one year deal last summer, has claimed 28 goals under Mourinho so far this season, receiving a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year award in the process.

Doubt continues to loom over whether Zlatan will elect to sign an extension on his clause that enables him to remain at Old Trafford until 2018; his agent, Mino Raiola, recently hinted towards whether or not Man United reach the Champions League in May as a potentially deciding factor.

And Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, noted that losing Ibrahimovic would be “appalling” for Mourinho and United.

“To replace his goals at the end of the season, it’s got to be an immediate concern for Jose Mourinho,” he said. 

“To lose him, it’d be appalling. In the cup final, he dragged them through. For it to be a successful season, United need to get into the top 4 and he would be a big part of that.”

Losing Zlatan over the summer would indeed be awful for a number of reasons: the first being that if the Swede, following a season of dragging his side over the line, decided that United were not worth any more of his time, the club’s global appeal – their status as a world superpower – would take a serious blow.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, losing the 35-year-old over the summer would heavily hamper United’s trajectory under Mourinho. The Portuguese has modelled this side around the Swede’s ineffaceable verve and potency up front over the last few months; losing him at a time where United need to reach the next level would be like preparing a roast dinner and throwing the meat in the toilet.

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