Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not suit up for the club again this season after suffering a torn ACL and PCL, according to Duncan Castles and Gianluca Di Marzio. He sustained the injury in the UEFA Europa League against Anderlecht, when he landed awkwardly after jumping and his knee buckled.
It’s possible that Ibrahimovic has played his last match for United. His contract expires at the end of this season, with Ibrahimovic and United having a mutual option to extend his deal by one year. After he suffered this injury, United will be hesitant to trigger that option — his £13.5 million salary is among the highest in the Premier League, and he’s unlikely to contribute until 2018.
This is the first major injury in Ibrahimovic’s career. He’s never been out for longer than two months at a time and has maintained incredible fitness into his mid-30s, playing in 51 games last season and 46 games during this campaign. Recovery from an ACL tear ranges from 6-9 months for most players, but tearing his PCL at the same time might lengthen Ibrahimovic’s recovery timeline.
Because he’s never suffered an injury of this magnitude and turning 36 during his recovery, big clubs will be hesitant to sign Ibrahimovic at the wages he was expecting to command this summer. It’s possible that Ibrahimovic begins the next European season as a free agent.
As for United, they’ll need to get more out of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. While Rashford had a bit of a disappointing season, he’s rebounded over the last two games, scoring winning goals against Chelsea and Anderlecht. The 19-year-old will need to keep up his form if the Red Devils are going to contend for top four, the Europa League, or both.
But Rashford, because he’s homegrown and less experienced, was always going to have a job at Old Trafford next season. The same can’t be said for Martial, who has fallen well out of favor with Jose Mourinho. Martial came on for Ibrahimovic on Thursday, and he’ll be getting more playing time in the next month out of necessity, whether Mourinho likes him or not. This is a big chance for him to prove that he’s closer to the player who scored 17 goals in his debut season than the one United fans have seen this year.