Manchester United are set to confirm that talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not been offered a new contract when they publish their list of retained and released players on Friday morning.
While a player can still re-sign for a club despite featuring on the list of those to leave the club at the expiration of their contract on 30 June, that is not expected to be the case with former Ajax, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain hitman Ibrahimovic.
The 35-year-old proved a huge success for United last season, scoring 28 goals across all competitions, as Jose Mourinho’s side won the EFL Cup and Europa League, while also finishing sixth in the Premier League.
But a serious knee injury during the second leg of United’s Europa League quarter-final clash with Anderlecht curtailed Ibrahimovic’s season and severely dented the chances of United exercising the option of a 12-month extension to his one-year contract.
It is understood that a further one-year would have been triggered had the former Sweden skipper started 31 Premier League games. As it was, he was named in the starting line-up for 27 of the Red Devils’ top-flight matches.
Despite undergoing successful surgery on his damaged cruciate ligament at the beginning of May, Ibrahimovic is not expected to return to competitive action until well into 2018.
That has caused United to alter their summer transfer intentions and focus their search on a central striking option as opposed to a No10, which saw the club drop their interest in Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann last month. United have been heavily linked with a move for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata.
Ibrahimovic is not the only high-profile attacker seemingly destined for a Premier League exit this summer after Chelsea striker Diego Costa claimed he has been told by Blues boss Antonio Conte that he is not wanted by the Premier League champions.
Costa, who scored 22 goals for Chelsea last term and is currently away on international duty with Spain, said: “My relationship with the coach has been bad this season. I suppose I’ve had a bad season so I can’t go on.
“I’m going to be honest. The other day, Conte sent me a message saying he does not count on me for next season, so I’ll have to find a way out.”