Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 years old and recovering from a serious knee injury but that doesn’t stop the Swede from being linked with some of the biggest clubs on the planet. Such is the pedigree of the striker who left Manchester United at the end of last season. The man who calls himself Zlatan has long been linked with a move to MLS and with the list of likely European destinations apparently growing shorter, is it now the right time for Zlatan to move to the States? LA Galaxy have been interested in the past but after the signing of Jonathan dos Santos, their new city neighbours LAFC could be the right destination for Ibrahimovic.
There haven’t been many more successful players in Europe in the last few decades. He’s won trophies with six clubs, league titles with five and despite his age, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t done yet. After spells in Sweden and the Netherlands, Ibrahimovic moved to Serie A in 2004 where his career really took off. He spent two years at Juventus before the Swede moved to Inter Milan where he won three consecutive league titles. After a less-than successful year at Barcelona, he returned to Italy with city rivals AC, helping the Milan side win the double in 2011.
The forward then spent four incredibly successful seasons with PSG before moving to Manchester United for a single year just last summer. His move to Manchester United was something of a surprise. Ibrahimovic has long been linked with a move to the MLS, according to Bleacher Report and those links have returned now his time in England is seemingly over. His spell at Manchester United was cut short following a nasty knee injury picked up in April.
Links to MLS and injuries
LA Galaxy have long been admirers of Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer, with reports earlier this year suggesting he had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club. It was believed at the time that Galaxy had ‘blown United out of the water’ with the deal offered to the Swede but that was back in March. The situation has changed immensely since then and the player’s injury a month later probably had a lot to do with that. The Galaxy looked elsewhere and completed the signing of Villarreal midfielder and brother of Giovani, Jonathan dos Santos in late July. That takes them to three Designated Players and effectively rules them out of a big-money move for Ibrahimovic unless they sell one of their current stars.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 27, 2017
Galaxy were undoubtedly put off by Ibrahimovic’s injury but is it as bad as feared? Players far younger than Ibrahimovic had their careers ruined by similar injuries but the Swede’s agent gave these incredible quotes about the problem a few months ago.
“His knee is so strong that the doctors said they had never seen anything like it,” Mino Raiola said back in May.
“He has a knee that it is almost impossible for a football player with a 20-year career to have. It was quite clean, there was no harm in it.
“Zlatan is so strong that the doctor wants him back after his career to research on him.”
It remains to be seen whether that’s true or an agent just trying to squeeze one last big money move from his client. Still, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an incredible athlete. At 35 years old and after four seasons in France, the Swede came into the Premier League and controlled Manchester United at times last season. He scored a bucket load of goals and looked just as fit and strong as he did a decade ago. He would be a coup for almost any club on the planet but how many could actually sign him?
The Next Move
As of August 1, Manchester United are 31/50 favourites to re-sign the Swede, with any MLS club at 5/4 according to Betway. Italian sides AC Milan and Juventus are out at 6/1 and 8/1 respectively before a big jump out to 20/1 for Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg. Manchester United have, of course, signed Romelu Lukaku which makes a move for Ibrahimovic appear unlikely so the States now looks like the best bet.
Few sides could afford the Swede whose signing would carry many pros and cons. He’s a worldwide name and is the player MLS fans would like to see join the league most, according to a recent poll. Despite that, he won’t be able to play for a while and would require a huge contract which limits the number of realistic options. The best one out there is Los Angeles FC. The LA side will join MLS next season and they are in need of a star player after the appointment of head coach Bob Bradley. Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be perfect and could spend the next few months helping the club grow while recuperating from his injury ahead of the side’s MLS debut next season.
It’s unclear how likely a move is but Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be an ideal signing for LAFC. He’s one of the most successful players of the last twenty years and carries with him a global recognition. He may be recuperating from a nasty knee injury but LAFC won’t be playing until next March so he won’t be missing much for now. Ibrahimovic is just the sort of name that LAFC – and MLS – needs and would be a fantastic coup for both the club and the league.