Jose Mourinho will have to convince Zlatan Ibrahimovic that Manchester United can win the Premier League next season if he hopes to keep the Swedish striker at Old Trafford.
Sunday Mirror Sport understands that it will take a significant increase in Ibrahimovic’s current £300,000-a-week wages if United are to convince the 35-year-old to trigger the option of a one-year contract extension.
That would mean making him the highest earner in the club’s history.
But the biggest selling point United can offer is a promise that Mourinho will be given more hard cash to build a team capable of delivering the club’s first title since 2013.
Sources close to the Swede’s camp insist he is still undecided about his future.
LA Galaxy are ready to make Ibra the highest-paid player in the MLS, topping the £5.8million paid to Kaka by Orlando City when the Brazilian played in Florida last year.
And a move to China would bring in the kind of money that even United would be unable to match.
But United are banking on Ibrahimovic’s burning desire to win an English title.
That means assurances from Mourinho and executive vice- chairman Ed Woodward about the calibre of transfer targets will be near the top of the agenda when make-or-break negotiations with the Swede take place in the coming weeks.
United made a huge statement of intent last year when they smashed the world transfer record to bring £89million Paul Pogba back to the club.
Mourinho faces the press after drawing 1-1 with FC Rostov
And while they will have to break the record again to land No.1 target Antoine Griezmann, a source close to Ibrahimovic’s camp said: “It will probably need two or three really big signings.
“Zlatan plays football to win. Money has been an important factor in his career, but it is secondary
compared to winning.
“He will want to win the Premier League because he has won titles in every country he has played in since leaving Sweden.
“That might be in United’s favour, because he will not want to leave England without being a champion. But at the same time they will have to convince him that next season will be United’s year in the Premier League.”
Ibrahimovic has won titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France in a career that has brought an astonishing 13 championship medals.
Zlatan reveals where he keeps all his medals
And while United are still on course for a cup Treble, he has been desperately disappointed by the team’s failure to mount a title challenge.
Ibrahimovic has scored 26 goals this season – including two in the EFL Cup final victory over Southampton which enabled Mourinho to become the first manager in United’s history to lift a trophy in his debut season with the club.
But when Ibrahimovic decided to move to Manchester after his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expired last summer, he had his sights set on the most elite medals.
His decision to sign a one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months was taken with the minimum expectation that United would challenge for the title and qualify for the Champions League. Ibrahimovic is yet to add a European Cup medal to his bulging collection of honours from a career that has taken him from hometown club Malmo to Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and now United.
Mourinho’s team are entrenched in sixth place – despite a 17-match unbeaten run in the Premier League over the last five months.
The source added: “In Sweden, it would be a surprise if Zlatan went a second year in Europe without playing in the Champions League.
“So he may not make a decision until the very end of the season. If he goes to the USA it will be a lifestyle choice. There have been absolutely no suggestions that Zlatan’s wife and children are unhappy in Manchester – but his wife will be involved in the decision.”