Manchester United are in the hunt for a new striker after confirming that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to leave after a year at Old Trafford. Max Liu takes a look at their options and whether the Swede's departure is good news for Wayne Rooney...
"United have given up on Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and are 4/11< to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid/a>."
He came, he saw, he conquered. And then he suffered an cruciate ligament injury. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to leave Manchester United after a single season in which he scored 28 goals in 46 appearances. The Swedish striker made a huge impact at Old Trafford, spearheading Jose Mourinho's attack and, without his goals, United might have finished even lower their sixth-place in the Premier League.
Ibrahimovic suffered his injury playing against Anderlecht in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. He was immediately ruled out for the rest of the season and, after operations, he's unlikely to be able to play again until early 2018. By then, the striker will be 36 and United appear to have decided that, at his age, it is not worth offering him another contract when his current one expires at the end of the month. According to his agent, the player has plenty of offers and will continue to play in Europe.
It's a sad end to brief Old Trafford career and it's difficult to think of another player in Red Devils' history who burned so brightly but briefly. Ibrahimovic has scored goals wherever he's played, with Ajax, Inter Milan, PSG and even at Barcelona, in spite of his fractious relationship with his then manager Pep Guardiola. It will be tough for him to recover from his injury but don't rule him out, as he defies age and possesses enormous physical power, so it will be no surprise if he starts banging in the goals wherever he goes next.
Next season is a big one for United. Mourinho won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season but they're 10/3 to win the Premier League next season and Mourinho's team are expected to mount a serious challenge.
But Ibrahimovic's departure means United have had to rethink their summer transfer plans. Now they need to recruit a number nine where previously they were planning to buy a number ten to play behind the Swede. For this reason, they've given up on signing Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and are 4/11 to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid. The Spanish striker is not first choice at the Bernabeu and could be drawn to Old Trafford by the promise of a central role and a lucrative contract.
Has Wayne Rooney played his final game for United? The club captain is 1/2 to sign for a Chinese club, and 4/1 to go to Everton, this summer, but there's a growing sense that he could stick around at Old Trafford for one more season.
Everton are reportedly unable to match his wages and Rooney is said to have cooled on the idea of moving abroad. Mourinho says he'd be happy for Rooney to stay at the club where he's played since 2004. Even though he's no longer part of the starting 11, it looks increasingly likely that the player will see out the final year of his contract.