Manchester United have finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in European football with the eagerly-anticipated arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The outspoken Swedish striker, who recently left reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain after four impressive seasons in the French capital, had been linked with a move to Old Trafford for several months before finally revealing his next destination on social media yesterday (30 June).
"Time to let the world know," he wrote on Instagram below a picture of the club crest in a simple post that has since accrued more than one million likes. "My next destination is Manchester United."
Ibrahimovic is subsequently believed to have travelled to United's Aon Training Complex in Carrington on Friday to undergo a medical and put pen to paper on a one-year contract. The move is regarded as something of a high-profile swansong for the wildly successful 34-year-old, a winner of 13 different domestic titles in four countries across the continent, who recently retired from international football after captaining Sweden to an underwhelming group-stage exit at Euro 2016.
"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United and am looking forward to playing in the Premier League," he told the club website. "It goes without saying that I cannot wait to work with Jose Mourinho once again. He is a fantastic manager and I am ready for this new and exciting challenge. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career so far and have some great memories. I am now ready to create more special memories in England."
A controversial character, Ibrahimovic has endured prickly relationships with a number of former coaches including new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. However, despite a few clashes with Mourinho during their time together at Inter Milan, the two enjoy a positive relationship and have spoken highly of each other since. "The Special One" was appointed as United's new manager in May, replacing Louis van Gaal just days after the unpopular Dutchman, who still had 12 months of his three-year contract left to run, had guided the Red Devils to their first FA Cup triumph since 2004 with a 2-1 extra-time win over Crystal Palace at Wembley.
Welcoming Ibrahimovic, Mourinho said: "Zlatan needs no introduction. The statistics speak for themselves. Ibra is one of the best strikers in the world and a player who always gives 100%. He has won the most important league championships in the world of football, now he has the opportunity to play in the best league in the world and I know he will grasp this opportunity and will work hard to help the team win titles. I am certain that his talent will delight fans at Old Trafford next season and that his experience will be invaluable in helping to develop the younger players in the squad."
Ibrahimovic is the second signing made by Mourinho so far this summer, with Ivory Coast international centre-back Eric Bailly having already joined from La Liga outfit Villarreal in a £30m deal last month. Borussia Dortmund playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also expected to join United for £26m in the coming days.