Man Utd: Zlatan Ibrahimovic deal close to completion

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic should complete his long-anticipated move to Manchester United by the end of the week.

The Swedish striker, 34, is a free agent after leaving Paris St-Germain and is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Old Trafford club.

He will become the second signing for United boss Jose Mourinho, whoreplaced Louis van Gaal as manager in May.

Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly, 22, has already completed a £30m move to United from Spanish side Villarreal.

United have also made an improved offer for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 27, and are now waiting for his German club, Borussia Dortmund, to make a decision on the Armenian playmaker’s future.

Ibrahimovic removed the final barrier to his switch to the Premier League when he said he did not wish to be considered for Olympic duty at the 2016 Games in Rio following Sweden’s exit from Euro 2016.

It will be his first spell in England after winning titles in four countries.

Although the Swede repeatedly refused to confirm his plans during the Euros, Old Trafford was widely assumed to be the next destination in a career that has seen him win league championships in 13 of the last 15 seasons.

Ibrahimovic was top scorer in France’s Ligue 1 last term with 38 goals but did not score as Sweden went out of Euro 2016 at the group stage.

 

Eric Bailly: Man Utd sign Villarreal defender for £30m

Manchester United have signed Villarreal defender Eric Bailly for about £30m, subject to a work permit.

The Ivory Coast international, who has signed a four-year contract, is the first player to join United since Jose Mourinho was appointed manager.

Bailly, 22, said: “It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United. To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do.”

Mourinho said: “Eric has the potential to become one of the best around.”

Bailly has played 40 times in La Liga, the first five games being for Espanyol.

He joined Villarreal for £4.4m in January 2015 and played in every match as Ivory Coast won the Africa Cup of Nations just weeks later.

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Bailly said: “It is a confidence boost that a manager with so much experience of English football has trusted in me by making me his first signing.

“English football has a different style to Spanish football. It’s more physical and more direct as well. I have always thought it would suit my style of football.”

United are also tipped to complete the acquisition of Paris St-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Louis van Gaal: Manchester United sack manager

Louis van Gaal has been sacked as manager of Manchester United, with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho set to be named as his replacement.

Van Gaal leaves after two years of a three-year contract, having discussed severance terms on Monday.

The former Netherlands boss, 64, is believed to earn around £6.4m a year.

Mourinho’s appointment is expected to be confirmed after the 53-year-old Portuguese meets senior United officials on Tuesday.

Manchester United confirmed Van Gaal’s departure at 20:30 BST, praising his “great professionalism and dignity throughout”, while adding “a decision on a successor as manager will be announced soon”.

In a separate club statement released at the same time, Van Gaal said he was “very disappointed” not to see out his “intended three-year plan”.

United have made an offer to Ryan Giggs, Van Gaal’s assistant, for him to stay at Old Trafford, but it is not known what role he would have and whether he would accept.

 

He arrived at Manchester United’s training ground at 08:45 BST on Monday and left shortly before 17:00.

Forty-five minutes after his arrival in the morning, League Managers Association lawyer Paul Gilroy QC also drove into Carrington.

Gilroy is the same employment barrister who acted for David Moyes when he was sacked as manager by United in 2014.

He arrived at about 09:30 and was initially refused entry before being allowed in about 15 minutes later, refusing to answer questions about the reason for his presence.

According to his profile page on the Nine St John Street Chambers website, Gilroy has advised and acted for a number of football clients, including Roy Hodgson, Martin O’Neill, Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp, Roy Keane, Roberto Martinez, Sam Allardyce, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew, Nigel Pearson and Steve McClaren.

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Van Gaal took control of United after leading the Netherlands to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Old Trafford club finished fourth in the Premier League in his first season in charge to qualify for the Champions League.

But they finished fifth this term and will play in the Europa League next season.

They only scored 49 league goals – their lowest total since 1989-90.

Saturday’s FA Cup success at Wembley gave United a first trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson won the Premier League in 2013 in his last season before retirement, but it was not enough to stop Van Gaal from losing his job.

Gary Lineker tweeted: “Crikey! Manchester United have sacked Louis van Gaal. Who saw that coming? Next thing you know they’ll appoint Jose Mourinho.”

The Match of the Day presenter and former England striker added: “One thing is for sure, Mourinho is a brilliant coach and a winner. As close as you could ever get in football to guaranteeing success.”

Former Dutch player, Ronald de Boer, who played under Van Gaal at Ajax and Barcelona, told BBC Radio 5 live: “He should retire and enjoy his life. He does not have anything to prove to the football world as he has an unbelievable amount of trophies and has respect from a lot of players and managers.”

Ian Sterling, chairman of Manchester United Supporters Trust, said: “Van Gaal’s fate was sealed with his results over the season. The style of play and football has been the worst I have seen in my time following United. A positive is that the club has acted quickly and a new manager will be in place in preparation for next season.

“The club has acted in the best possible way for its own interest and Van Gaal has been a victim of that. The supporters wanted a change, to put someone in charge who knows the philosophy of the club. Attacking and competing football rather than the game of chess we have seen this season.

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“For many other clubs, winning the FA Cup would be a springboard to next season, for us it has been a finale. Mourinho is a ‘Marmite’ manager, you either love him or hate him. He finished on a failure at Chelsea so maybe he has to come here and prove himself again.

“All the Manchester United fans want is someone who respects what the club is about. My concern is that he plays a similar style to Van Gaal. If Mourinho comes here and loves United more than himself, he will be a success.”

Meanwhile, 52.8% of thousands of Sportsday readers said Mourinho was not the right man for Manchester United, while only 20% of a separate vote said they would be Premier League champions next season.

 

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin told BBC World Service: “Van Gaal will be upset, but when time passes and he has time to look back on his career. he walks out of Manchester United after winning a major trophy. Maybe it wasn’t the worst time to go after all.”

On Mourinho, Nevin added: “Nobody but nobody in world football brings in the trophies like Jose Mourinho.

“It’s not heart. This is head. If it was heart I don’t actually think it would have been Jose Mourinho.

“I think it would have been Ryan Giggs or maybe another ex-Manchester United player. There were a lot of other possible candidates out there. This is the head ruling here. They had to go and get the man who could do the best job.

“Was Alex Ferguson the easiest man to work with all the time? What did he give you? Success. Hence, Manchester United almost, to some degree, had to go down this route.

“He will do what he knows succeeds and it’s much, much easier to win with tried and tested players who have been there and done that.

“In reality, he will bring in tried and trusted players from all around the continent for a lot of money.”Ibraa

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