Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been released by Manchester United – but the veteran striker will continue his rehabilitation with the club.
Signed from Paris St Germain last summer on a one-season deal with the option of another, the 35-year-old netted 28 goals before serious knee ligament damage brought his campaign to a shuddering halt in April.
United have remained quiet about Ibrahimovic’s future since then, but the striker was named on the Premier League’s official list of players let go on Friday.
It is little surprise given the highly-paid Swede is unlikely to play until early next year, but Press Association Sport understands he will do his rehabilitation with United.
The club are keen to look after Ibrahimovic and have been doing so both on site and from afar since April’s injury in the Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht.
The fact his rehab will be under United’s guidance does not necessarily mean he will sign a new deal with them, although their start to the 2017/18 campaign and his recovery could change things.
Ibrahimovic’s injury means a new number nine is high on United’s list of priorities this summer.
Reported target Romelu Lukaku appears close to leaving Everton for former club Chelsea, while Torino striker Andrea Belotti and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata are other options.
Ibrahimovic was the stand-out name on the Premier League’s list of players released.
John was confirmed as a free agent after leaving Chelsea, while Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero are among those released by Manchester City. Zabaleta has already agreed to join West Ham.
Yaya Sanogo has been released by Arsenal, with Everton’s Arouna Kone and Crystal Palace striker Fraizer Campbell not offered new deals.
Sunderland’s relegation from the Premier League looks to have prompted a shake-up of their first team squad with Victor Anichebe, Sebastian Larsson, Joleon Lescott, John O’Shea and Steven Pienaar all deemed surplus to requirements.