Jose Mourinho says Zlatan Ibrahimovic's injury forced Man Utd to spend big
By Alice Piper
Last Updated: 27/07/17 9:40am
Jose Mourinho has admitted Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury forced the club to spend big on Romelu Lukaku this summer, but hinted the 35-year-old could yet return to Old Trafford.
Manchester United signed Lukaku from Everton for an initial £75m earlier this month and Mourinho revealed the deal was needed to ensure the club did not go without a "strong striker" for six months.
Ibrahimovic suffered a knee injury in April, bringing his season to an abrupt end following a hugely successful first campaign at Old Trafford in which he scored 28 goals.
Addressing the team's current attacking options, Mourinho said: "We spent big money on a striker because, with strikers, you either spend or you don't get.
"We spent because of what happened to Zlatan and we cannot allow ourselves to be without an important, strong striker for the first six months of the season."
Mourinho highlighted his plans to develop the side's emerging youth talent, having used seven players in United's pre-season tour of the US from the club's academy and youth teams.
The former Real head coach's commitment to develop youth players has at times come into question, but Mourinho pointed to Real Madrid's line-up against United in Santa Clara as an example of the trust he placed in youth players during his time in charge at the Bernabeu.
"More than half of their team - which is their first team because they were only missing Ronaldo and Ramos - all these guys started with me and had debuts with me," he added.
"They came into the first team with me, trained with me at 15 and 16 years old. Nacho, Casemiro, Carvajal, Morata, Marcelo was 20.
"So probably in a few years Manchester United will also have half a dozen of these kids.
"I think Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell are also kids to have a future in the club. And Andreas Pereira is back. So when the kids are good and have potential, there is no problem."