David Beckham’s Miami Major League Soccer franchise may be more than two years away from kicking its first ball, but already the former Manchester United star has made it clear who he would love to make his first major signing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, currently at Paris Saint Germain, is the man Beckham is targeting to help his team match the glamor it possesses in the board room on the field.
“We have received permission to build an arena and it will take three years … maybe two, at best,” Beckham told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “If Ibrahimovic is still active, then I want to buy him right away. He is a physically magnificent specimen, so it’s entirely possible. Who does not want a man who is prepared to kill to win?”
However, there are, as even Beckham hinted, plenty of “ifs” and maybes” to this idea. For starters there is the fact that Beckham’s Miami franchise doesn’t even have a confirmed start date as yet. It was only earlier this month that the ownership group, which Beckham heads as part of an agreement made when he signed for LA Galaxy in 2007 allowing him to purchase an MLS franchise, secured a site for a new stadium. After two years of struggles and rejections, an area in the city’s Overtown district was finally approved. But no further official timeline has yet been disclosed.
At the earliest Miami would start playing in 2018, when it would enter MLS alongside a new franchise in Los Angeles to become the league’s 24th team. And it is almost impossible to predict where Ibrahimovic would be then. The former Milan and Barcelona striker will be out of contract at PSG next summer and is widely expected that he will leave the French champions. He has even been linked with an immediate transfer to MLS, something he has previously stated would appeal to him.
“I would like to play in U.S., absolutely,” he told Yahoo Sports in July while in the U.S. with PSG. “I would like to play. Which team? Am I allowed to say that? No, I cannot say that. I think it would be an amazing experience.”
Even if the contractual logistics would pan out to allow Ibrahimovic to make a move in two or three years’ time, there is the consideration of what his physical state will be. If the Miami team were to be up and running for the 2018 season, Ibrahimovic would be 36, and 37 by its conclusion. Admittedly, though, a player of that age excelling in MLS would be far from unprecedented.
Just this past season, 37-year-old Didier Drogba joined Montreal Impact and finished with 12 goals in only 14 appearances. Given that Ibrahimovic has never been a player who has relied on blistering pace and instead excels with his unique combination of size and outrageous technical skill, he could still have plenty to offer a new MLS franchise.
Beckham, whose last stop of his famed career saw him join up with Ibrahimovic in Paris, believes that the charismatic Swede would bring plenty to any team.
“I’ve played with or against the very best in the world,” he said. “I want to say that I have never met anyone who was so serious during both practice and games. When I came to Paris I knew that he was an incomparable talent as a player, but he’d be so tough and merciless on himself at all times, I had no idea. He is a born winner. He is a beast with huge self-confidence, and I’m one of his biggest admirers.”