Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave Manchester United when his contract expires on 30 June after being named as the only name on the club's released list revealed by the Premier League on Friday (9 July). The Swedish striker signed an initial one-year contract upon his high-profile arrival at Old Trafford in July 2016, with that deal including the option of another 12-month extension.
An impressive haul of 28 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions during his maiden campaign at Old Trafford boded well in terms of the two sides reaching an agreement, only for any best-laid plans to be torpedoed by a serious cruciate knee ligament injury suffered by the player against Anderlecht in April.
Ibrahimovic, now 35, subsequently underwent successful surgery in Pittsburgh and agent Mino Raiola was eager to quickly establish that such an issue was not career-ending.
However, he is expected to be sidelined for up to nine months and United were already said to have begun the search for a new number nine after cooling their interest in Atletico Madrid talisman Antoine Griezmann.
Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata appears to remain their chief target, with The Telegraph reporting that the Spaniard has agreed a deal and is now waiting for the two clubs to settle on a fee. Having already seen a bid of £52.3m ($66.5m) rejected, United are said to be hopeful that a second offer worth £60m will clinch his signature.
Romelu Lukaku and Andrea Belotti have also been shortlisted, although the former looks likely to return to Chelsea from Everton and Torino remain steadfast in their desire to keep the latter amid a €100m release clause that is open only to clubs from abroad.
A serial trophy winner in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France, Ibrahimovic, who did apparently want to stay at United, certainly does not lack experience across Europe's major leagues. However, his preference appears to be to remain in England and Raiola confirmed last month that they had received a "lot of offers" that would need to be evaluated. "He wants to stay in England, he wants to stay at the top," he said.
The Los Angeles Galaxy were previously reported to be willing to make Ibrahimovic the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer (MLS) history, while a potential shock move back to Serie A with Napoli was not ruled out earlier this year. A future move to China may also be a possibility.
Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin made a tongue-in-cheek offer to Ibrahimovic earlier on Friday, writing on Twitter: "No contract at @ManUtd - we've great fans, but still no cash: BUT YOU CAN WIN @bundesliga_de for 1st time. Think about it @Ibra_official."