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Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke to press on Thursday..

Manchester United will use Zlatan Ibrahimovic as bait to attract stars

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Jose Mourinho has reportedly become Manchester United's next manager after finalising a deal with executive Ed Woodward at a London hotel earlier on Thursday afternoon.

With an official announcement expected on Friday, attention will soon turn to the signings that Mourinho will bring to Old Trafford in his first summer at the club.

It is widely expected that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the first major arrival under this new regime but he is unlikely to be the last in what promises to be a busy and expensive transfer window for the Red Devils.

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But Ibrahimovic's influence will extend much further than the training pitch in pre-season. According to The Times, the charismatic striker is key to Mourinho's recruitment plan with the 34-year-old expected to act as bait for his other targets.

Together, they will form one of the most glamourous two-man dream teams in football and that is a vision they will sell to players who may be concerned with the lack of Champions League football.

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Indeed, the Red Devils finished outside of the Premier League's top four and will compete in the Europa League next season. It was expected that it would have a damaging effect when trying to sign players but the mere presence of Ibrahimovic, it is hoped, will eradicate any doubt potential signings may have.

The targets

So who are these other targets? Manchester United have spent over £250million in the last two years so there cannot be too much to add to this star-studded team. However, Mourinho wants three major signings that could cost well in excess of £100m.

The first one will be Everton defender John Stones, who was strongly courted by Mourinho's Chelsea last summer. Mourinho saw the England international as a long-term replacement for John Terry and went as high as £35m in his very public pursuit.

Stones has since had a poor season with Everton but the asking price has still gone up. It is believed the Toffees want £45m.

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The second is Joao Mario, a Sporting Lisbon central midfielder who has burst onto the scene this season. The Portuguese has also been linked with Chelsea and PSG but the chance to work under Mourinho could provide United with the edge.

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The third is Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi. The 23-year-old has long been touted as one of the next big strikers and had an impressive season in Serie A, scoring 16 goals in 32 appearances.

One problem, of course, will be that Icardi will have to compete for a place with Ibrahimovic so it could be that the presence of the Swede actually puts him off. 

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Topics:
Inter Milan
Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Football
Premier League
Jose Mourinho

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