Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be set for a summer move to the Premier League according to reports in France which claim that the PSG forward is ‘certain’ of a move to England with his contract expiring at the end of the season. The well-traveled forward has played all over the globe with the likes of Barcelona, Ajax and Inter Milan but is yet to play on English shores. Ibra has enjoyed consistent success in the French capital since his £15m from 2012; adding three French league titles to his already full trophy cabinet.
We assess the potential destinations which could prove to be the 34-year-old’s eighth club:
Things could have been much different for Ibrahimovic and Arsenal back when the Swede was just 16 years old. Arsene Wenger offered the striker a trial, only to be rebuffed as Ibra ‘doesn’t do trials’ and he opted to sign for Ajax following a season with Malmo.
Arsenal’s quest for the title seemingly crumbled again this season which has piled pressure on Wenger amongst the Arsenal faithful. The Frenchman has been criticised for not strengthening the Gunners’ forward line in the summer with main striker, Olivier Giroud, ending an 11-game goal drought before his FA cup strike against Hull. Leicester and Tottenham have pulled away in the title race although it would be foolish to count Wenger’s men out yet.
Should he keep his job, big name signings will be demanded in the summer. Mesut Ozil has been one of the best performers in the league this season and Ibrahimovic would no doubt thrive from the German’s creativity. Reports suggest that the Emirates is the forward’s preferred destination and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has urged his former club to secure his signature. However, Arsenal are also keeping tabs on Juventus striker Alvaro Morata which doubts over both Ibrahimovic’s wage demands and age.
Manchester City were another club who came close to signing Ibrahimovic back in 2011. Sheikh Mansour had recently completed his takeover of the club and began to transform City into a global superpower. Following his departure from Barcelona, the Citizens expressed their interest but the Sweden international opted for a switch to Milan.
He claimed that City may have become a big club in the next for years but he didn’t have time for long term plans at the age of 29. He also made it clear that money would not have been a factor in his decision. The Manchester club now boasts one of the strongest sides in the world and have added two Premier League titles to their name.
Wilfried Bony has struggled since his big-money move from Swansea and Kelechi Iheanacho is regarded as a work in progress meaning first choice striker, Sergio Aguero, has relatively little competition. Ibra would no doubt be a good signing for City but he may have to accept a role as the second choice striker which could prove a stumbling block. The main concern would be the impending arrival of Pep Guardiola. It is well documented that the two have never seen eye to eye and Ibrahimovic states he left Barcelona purely due to the Spaniard describing his former boss as a ‘spineless coward’.
Reports in France suggest that Manchester United have made securing Ibra’s services their main priority in the summer. Another disappointing campaign has meant another summer of upheaval is likely to be on the cards for the Red Devils. The future of Louis van Gaal is also in doubt and a new manager would mean even more changes at Old Trafford especially if bookmaker’s favourite, Jose Mourinho, takes over.
Zlatan played under the former Chelsea manager at Inter Milan for just one season but has always spoken highly of the Portuguese manager. He wrote in his autobiography that Mourinho ‘brightens up the room’ and that he would become a guy that he was ‘willing to die for’. However, the Swede did not enjoy the best of relationships with LVG during his time at Ajax.
United legends Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand questioned the current squad’s passion and desire following their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. Ibrahimovic could be a season defining addition to their squad bringing a wealth of experience and leadership qualities to the table. Youngsters such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial would also benefit from having another high calibre forward at the club. Ibrahimovic playing his trade at Old Trafford next season seemingly depends on who is sitting in the dugout.
Chelsea are another club set for an important summer transfer window after a hugely disappointing season following a season of dominance which saw them lift the title comfortably. Mourinho was dismissed and Gus Hiddink was installed in order to steady the ship.
Antonio Conte is the favourite to take the reins at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and has been learning English since January. The Juventus legend is expected to bring his own staff to the club and will also look to bolster their current playing squad. Diego Costa has only just rediscovered his best form but may face disciplinary action following an alleged bite on Gareth Barry. Loic Remy’s transfer has also proved largely unsuccessful and Bertrand Traore is not yet ready for first-team football.
Ibrahimovic has never had the chance to work with Conte as the Italian retired the season that the Swede joined the club in 2004. Hot prospect Traore will also benefit from the Swede’s experience who could be the perfect bridge between Costa and the Burkina Faso international. However, Zlatan has not enjoyed the best relationship with the Blues. He was dismissed in last season’s Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge and described the reaction of Chelsea players as disgraceful who ‘acted like babies’.