Matt Le Tissier says Jose Mourinho's confirmation that Manchester United will extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic's contract is "surprising".
The 35-year-old scored five goals in his first five appearances for United but has netted just three in his last 12 starts for Mourinho's side, and casted doubt over his future by suggesting he could see himself "conquering" the United States.
However, Mourinho revealed on Thursday that the club were ready to trigger the second-year extension on his initial single-season deal.
"I'm surprised he's made that decision so early in the season," Le Tissier said.
"If I was in that position I would have wanted to have seen a few more months of him and see how he handles playing through the winter.
"He has done alright since he's arrived. He hasn't been spectacular, but he's clearly impressed Jose with his fitness and attitude."
If I was in that position I would have wanted to have seen a few more months of him and see how he handles playing through the winter.
Le Tissier believes Mourinho's reasoning is to buy some extra time before burdening Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial with the pressures of being the club's first-choice strikers.
"I think it probably has a bit to do with not trusting the youngsters," he added. "He wants to give them another year or so to let them grow.
"At most clubs I'd say that was stifling them but because of the pressure to succeed at Old Trafford you can maybe understand why he's gone down that route.
"The pressure is there to be always competing for the title and European competitions, even if it's not realistic right now, so he's probably protecting the younger players from that a bit by keeping Zlatan around."