The future of outgoing Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains wholly unclear, with Enrique Cerezo pouring cold water on speculation that the veteran Swede could link up with Atletico Madrid in January.
The out-of-contract Ibrahimovic was the sole name featured on United's list of released players earlier this month, with the mutual option for a 12-month extension to his initial one-year deal at Old Trafford declined due to cruciate ligament damage suffered in April that required surgery and is expected to keep him sidelined for approximately nine months.
Italian newspaper Tuttosport recently claimed that Ibrahimovic could complete his rehabilitation in Madrid and be registered by Atletico when their recently-upheld Fifa transfer ban expires in January 2018.
The player's cousin, Selman Yalcin, subsequently said that Los Colchoneros were indeed talking with agent Mino Raiola.
Asked about Ibrahimovic and those familiar links to wantaway Chelsea frontman Diego Costa, Atletico president Cerezo said they would hold discussions with the former but expressed doubt that he would join Diego Simeone's squad.
"We have spoken with his family, but not with him," he was quoted as saying by Marca at the opening of a metro station next to the club's new Wanda Metropolitano stadium. "A lot of things can happen between now and January. We'll speak with Ibrahimovic in January, but right now we can't sign anyone. I don't think he'll come in January."
The prospect of Ibrahimovic potentially staying at United despite his imminent release was raised recently, with the Manchester Evening News suggesting that he will be permitted to continue his recovery at their Carrington training base and could be offered a short-term deal for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign when he finally returns to full fitness.
United are still in hot pursuit of Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata to replace those 28 goals scored by Ibrahimovic in his one season at the club, while captain Wayne Rooney's situation is yet to be clarified.
Atletico, meanwhile, had a verbal agreement with prolific Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette and were also working on the return of Costa when that aforementioned ban torpedoed their summer transfer plans.