Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he turned down a move to Manchester United during the Louis van Gaal era, but Jose Mourinho succeeding the Dutchman in the summer was enough to tempt him to Stretford.
The Swede says there were talks between his representatives and United ahead of the 2015-16 campaign when he was still a Paris Saint-Germain player, but he wasn’t particularly enthralled by the project under Van Gaal and opted to remain in the French capital.
Now, ahead of his first taste of the Liverpool-United rivalry on Monday, the striker is set for his eighth straight league start after his switch upon the conclusion of his PSG deal.
“There were talks about me coming to United one year ago, that is correct,” said Ibrahimovic. “But I didn’t believe in it then because it was not the right moment.
“Then they get the Special One and when the Special One calls you and when he starts to talk to you, you are already convinced. He didn’t need to talk a lot to convince me.”
Ibrahimovic had worked under Mourinho at Inter Milan for just one season, but that 2008-09 term saw the Nerazzurri collect the Serie A title and the rangy forward bag 25 league strikes. The Portuguese gaffer’s win-at-all-costs mentality also struck a chord with Ibrahimovic.
“It was only enough to call me and say, ‘Listen, I’m waiting for you in Manchester,’ and I was coming,” he explained.
The 35-year-old has made a commendable start in his eventual arrival to English football following stints in his native Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France over a trophy-laden career. He has four goals in seven Premier League showings, and has provided a valuable outlet up top due to his aerial prowess and propensity to drop deep to get things moving.
“Not many believed I would come to the Premier League, to Manchester United,” continued the winner of 13 domestic titles.
“But I don’t follow what everyone else says. I do what I want, I do what I believe in.
“I’m just myself. I don’t pretend to be somebody else.”