José Mourinho has confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will stay with Manchester United for a second season.
The Swedish striker joined United on a free transfer from Paris St Germain in the summer on a one-year-old deal with the option of a further 12 months.
Mourinho, speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Feyenoord, said he wants him to stay at Old Trafford.
“Zlatan’s situation is simple – he has one plus one year at the club and we are happy with him and we are going to execute the option of a second season,” he said.
“He is happy, he’s committed and he is loving his life as a football player at Manchester United and this is probably the last big challenge of his wonderful career. I think it is perfect for him to be here for 18 months more, and then he owns the decision about his future.”
The 35-year-old Swede, who on Monday was voted Swedish player of the Year for the 10th successive year, said the extension of his Old Trafford contract is a mere formality.
Ibrahimovic said: “For the moment we haven’t had any discussions. I have a contract that says one plus one years. I feel fresh, I feel in shape and physically if I feel like now, probably it will be a second year. I want to be realistic with myself – I want to be able to perform like I can do and not waste time. Now it is probably a yes, but I need discussions.”
United posted on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon: “José confirms MUFC will take up the option to extend Ibra-official’s contract for a second season, running until the end of 2017/18.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho suggested he could be willing to extend his own contract beyond its existing three years, stressing the need for patience as he seeks to transform United back into the Premier League’s dominant force.
Despite enduring a frustrating few months in the Old Trafford hot seat since his appointment last summer, Mourinho has cited the example of United managerial legend, Sir Alex Ferguson, who waited seven years to pick up his first league title with United.
Mourinho said: “Obviously people want big results, but I think they can look back and try to make a point of comparison, that the best manager in the history of the Premier League needed a few years to reach such a successful period – which means if the best needed that time the others also need that time. I am in the beginning of my contract and the beginning of the process, so let’s go step by step.
“If you ask me, would I like to be successful in these three years and to stay here for more time than the three years, then yes I would, because I’m in the club and the league I want to be in, so yes I’d love it. But I also have to deserve it, so let’s see the evolution of my results. If one day the club thinks I deserve it I’ll be very happy, but I’m just at the beginning.”