The 36-year-old was released last summer after a fine first season at Old Trafford ended in a serious knee injury.
The Swede was rewarded with a contract until the end of the 2017-18 season in August last year, but is now preparing to leave after managing just seven appearances this term, a knee issue having halted his comeback.
Ibrahimovic is now set to sign for Major League soccer’s LA Galaxy, with confirmation possible as early as Friday. He returned for United in November after recovering from surgery to repair his ruptured cruciate ligament.
But his last game was on Boxing Day, when he was substituted at half-time of the 2-2 draw at home to Burnley, and, although earlier this month he said he was targeting the Champions League last-16 second leg tie with Sevilla, he did not make the matchday 18.
The arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January and the form of Romelu Lukaku have made it even less likely for Ibrahimovic to regain his place and, with question marks over his fitness and his contract ticking down, the time appears right for a move.
Manager Jose Mourinho began to pave the way for an exit when he said in January he would not stand in the former Sweden international’s way if he wanted to leave Old Trafford.
Earlier this month the United boss admitted he expected the striker to leave at the end of the season.
Ibrahimovic, who scored 29 goals in 53 matches for United, would be the latest big-name signing for the Galaxy following the likes of former United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham and ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
However, MLS has moved away from signing ageing players in recent years.
Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move from United to the Chicago Fire last March was the exception rather the rule, with the 12 designated players brought from outside MLS for the 2018 season having an average age of 23.16 years old.
However, Ibrahimovic’s talent and standing in the game has proved understandably attractive for the Galaxy.
The most successful team in MLS history need a statement signing after a poor campaign and the arrival of Los Angeles football Club.
The new kids of the block have won the first two matches in MLS, with coach Bob Bradley and the likes of Carlos Vela being embraced by the LA football community.
Provided by Press Association Sport
It is now, surely, a matter of time before ruthless Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich makes Antonio Conte the eighth permanent head coach dismissed during his transformational near 15-year stint on the King’s Road.
That is what a 4-1 defeat at Watford during a ‘must-win game’ will do to your job prospects.
Thanks for the 2016/17 Premier League title, but arrivederci. Can the revolving door please stop to let ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique embark.
As ever when the time for a purge at Stamford Bridge arrives, institutional impatience gets blamed. Yet unalloyed acceptance of this reality underpins their success.
Chelsea’s model exhibits a long-term commitment to short-term cycles.
Their triumphs make a mockery of the trope that continuity is key. They win with Conte – and win without him.
Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas-Boas are just some of the luminaries who can attest to this.
The Abramovich style has more in common with the managerial shark tank of Serie A’s middle ranks than it does the old-boys network found in many Premier League boardrooms. The scales are just different.
70.3% - Antonio Conte has the joint-best win rate of any manager in Premier League history (min 5 games), level with Pep Guardiola. Tension. pic.twitter.com/AxhxPCE5kw— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 6, 2018
Sir Alex Ferguson witnessed 10 different incumbents, permanent or temporary, on the Chelsea bench from Abramovich’s takeover in June 2003 until he called time on his epoch-defining, 26-year spell in charge of Manchester United in May 2013. The comparative major trophy haul between the clubs throughout this spell stood at United 11-11 Chelsea.
Vastly contrasting approaches, but the same end result.
Chelsea’s cold-blooded adherence to their principles sets them apart. It takes a unique club to sack Mourinho twice.
Too many sides in England vacillate between future desires and an immediate pursuit of results – see United’s fumbles in the post-Ferguson vacuum.
The traditional role of manager does not exist at Stamford Bridge. Neither does the job title.
Head coaches are anathema to the traditional British school. They are intrinsic to Chelsea.
Interchangeable figures man the training pitch, plan out tactics and select the match-day squad. They have input to recruitment, but overall responsibility falls to someone else – in recent years technical director Michael Emenalo, now director and Abramovich-acolyte Marina Granovskaia.
The emasculation of the manager figure has increased since powers were devolved to Mourinho, with mixed results, upon his return from 2013-15. During this spell, supreme talents such as Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku were sold for figures way below their current market values.
Granovskaia, who is officially “mainly responsible for player transactions”, is entrusted to guarantee this will not reoccur.
Despite his protestations, Conte must have been aware of this reality. It was no secret that he tore himself away from Juventus – the club of his heart – in 2014 because of terminal disagreements about transfer policy.
Both he and Chelsea will have thrashed out the rules upon his hiring. Or the contract extension that followed last July.
As with any model, it is not without its hitches. No matter how fluid.
Conte says for sure this is a difficult moment but he does not believe you solve it by looking for excuses. He adds that winners find solutions, losers find excuses. That is all from the boss here but there will be more words from him on the official Chelsea website soon. #WATCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 5, 2018
Chelsea are the Premier League’s second-biggest spenders behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City since the Spaniard’s arrival in 2016. Comparative – and approximate – net spends of £88.8 million (Dh455.3m) to £342.7m (Dh1.8 billion), however, speak volumes of where the clubs are currently at.
A new bully is in town.
Then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein vividly claimed less than two months after Abramovich’s entrance that he had “parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”. But with a costly divorce and £1bn (Dh5.1bn) development of a new Stamford Bridge to pay for, ammunition is in shorter supply these days.
Conte’s recent gripes about recruitment also ring true. Midfielder Ross Barkley appears damaged goods, while United seem to have the better end of the Lukaku-Alvaro Morata and Nemanja Matic-Tiemoue Bakayoko transfers.
A leaner Chelsea have to fight smarter to usurp the division’s current top two.
Recent history shows they will keep faith in their core strategy, refine it and ultimately conquer. Whoever is in the dugout to oversee this is almost incidental.
Apart from being one of the elite international tournaments in sport, Euro 2016 was a social media sensation this summer.
It was one of the most talked about sporting events ever, with 195 million Facebook users having 950 million likes, comments or posts from June 10 to July 10.
Meanwhile, throughout the tournament in France, 61 million people on Instagram had 476 million likes, comments or posts.
Here, we look at the 10 most popular posts from Euro 2016.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL) – 2.1M LIKES
GARETH BALE (WALES) – 920K LIKES
PAUL POGBA (FRANCE)- 506K LIKES
MESUT OZIL (GERMANY) – 488K LIKES
The disappointment of the bitter defeat is still the same as yesterday. It just was not meant to be and luck was not really on our side. Nevertheless, congratulations to France being a great host. The team and especially the people well deserved it after all the discussions and safety precautions throughout the country since November 2015. Adieu & merci France! #GERFRA #Euro2016 @dfb_team @equipedefrance
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (POLAND) – 309K LIKES
WAYNE ROONEY (ENGLAND) – 181K LIKES
MARC BATRA (SPAIN) – 170K LIKES
LEONARDO BONUCCI (ITALY) – 98K LIKES
Voglio salutare questo Europeo con questa foto. Un'esultanza figlia della voglia, dell'Unione, del rispetto l'uno dell'altro, della fame, dell'orgoglio di questo meraviglioso GRUPPO. Non una selezione, una Squadra. Orgoglioso di averne fatto parte. Ci abbiamo provato, 0 rimpianti per le partite giocate alla pari con Nazionali più blasonate di Noi. Grazie agli Italiani che ci hanno sostenuto, incitato, emozionato e grazie anche a quelli che non aspettavano altro che l'uscita di questa Grande Nazionale. Grazie perché sarete lo stimolo per continuare a migliorare. FORZA ITALIA, FORZA AZZURRI, VIVA GLI ITALIANI. #euro2016 #LB19
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (BELGIUM) – 90.1K LIKES
XHERDAN SHAQIRI (SWITZERLAND) – 75.7K LIKES