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15th Jun 2016

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may miss the start of Manchester United’s season

Brazil beckons

Ben Kiely

Manchester United fans may have to wait a little longer than expected to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s competitive debut for the club.

If you already have your Ibrahimovic-United shirt pressed, laid out and ready to go for the first round of Premier League matches, firstly, what’s wrong with you, and secondly, be prepared to sheepishly put it back in the wardrobe for a couple of weeks.

The 34-year-old Swedish striker’s competitive debut may be delayed a little while after his inclusion in Hakan Ericson’s 35-man squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which run from August 5-22.

The squad will be cut down to 22 players before Sweden take on Nigeria, Colombia and Japan in Group B of the games and although Ericson believes the chances of Zlatan joining up with the team aren’t great, he has given Swedish fans a glimmer of hope.

“It could be a new phase in his career; and Zlatan has said that he is willing to wait until after the Euros (to decide). I want to keep open the tiniest gap that might exist, because it would be fantastic to bring Zlatan.”

United have already agreed personal terms with the striker and have made plans for him to undertake a medical after his involvement with the national team at Euro 2016 ends.

However, if he does decide to go to Rio, he will miss out on United’s first two Premier League matches against Bournemouth on August 13 and Southampton on August 20.

The killer blow is that, at the time of writing, Glenn Whelan, doesn’t play for either Bournemouth or the Saints, so he might have stood a chance of scoring!