In the midst of a likely fourth-straight French Ligue 1 title since he arrived four terms ago, veteran Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has reportedly caught the eye of several top tier clubs angling for his services as his contract expires at the end of the season.
According to a recent report from French newspaper L’Equipe, the Premier League’s Manchester United, Chelsea and West Ham United, as well as Serie A titan AC Milan, are all interested in signing Ibrahimovic this summer. Ibrahimovic played for Milan in 2011-2012.
United reportedly view Ibrahimovic as a potential “mentor” for burgeoning star Anthony Martial, however, they have also downplayed the report.
Manchester United and manager Louis van Gaal have spent quite a bit on new players, and even at Ibrahimovic’s advanced age he will demand an exorbitant contract that will only increase pressure on the Dutch manager to perform. The Red Devils have struggled this year and are currently sixth on the Premier League table, though in striking distance for Champions League qualification, a lingering fact that will no doubt be part of Ibrahimovic’s decision.
West Ham sit two points ahead of United on the table, but its unclear if manager Slaven Bilic’s side could afford to sign Ibrahimovic, let alone provide him the winningest atmosphere he’s grown accustomed to. Though, like the Red Devils, the Hammers would also afford Ibrahimovic his first foray in the Premier League.
Milan is another intriguing option and may be the top choice of the three, given Ibrahimovic’s two year stay at San Siro that resulted in 42 goals. However, Milan is presently sixth on the domestic table, which leaves them out of Champions League contention next year at the moment, and manager Sinisa Mihajlovic is fending off rumors of a dismissal before his first year is even over.
Lastly, there is Chelsea. French publication Foot Mercato reported Monday that Chelsea have offered Ibrahimovic a two-year deal worth £19.5 million. Chelsea are expected to have a very busy offseason while mired in their most disappointing season in several years, but it's doubtful they will sign a veteran goal scorer with so many other needs available.
The 34-year-old Swede, who signed a mega-deal to head to Parc des Princes back in 2012, is still atop Ligue 1’s top scorers table with 27 goals this term. He’s 13 goals ahead of teammate Edinson Cavani, thus proving Ibrahimovic can still perform at the game’s highest level at an age when most players of his ilk experience a decline in production. Yet MLS has been calling and so has the Chinese Super League, though Ibrahimovic reportedly rejected leaving Europe.
Any team in doubt over Ibrahimovic's skills, need look no further than his scoring performances against Chelsea in Champions League play to see he hasn’t really lost a step. Still, the length of Ibrahimovic’s next contract may be a major sticking point for any team interested in his services.