It was a busy weekend of MLS Cup playoff action as all four conference semifinal first legs took place on Sunday.
It was also a busy weekend at the rumor mill, as plenty of rumors have surfaced regarding the future of LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Do the rumors hold up to serious scrutiny? According to Bleacher Report, Italian papers claim the Swedish big man is close to a Milan switch.
Multiple Italian outlets have reported on the negotiations, and according to Turin-based Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia), Milan have proposed a six-month deal with an option for an extra year. Ibrahimovic wants an 18-month pact, however.
Per the report, his salary would amount to €1.5 million per year, with sponsors picking up the rest of the tab.
Mourinho ruled out an Ibra return last month, so there’s that. But is Zlatan genuinely interested in heading back to Milan? Only Ibra and his agent know for sure, but the details don’t seem to add up.
Ibrahimovic may possess the athletic gifts of a soccer god, but Zlatan’s 37-year old body and surgically repaired knee are currently recovering after a long MLS season. It would be far from ideal for the big Swede to abruptly jump back into Serie A.
Zlatan’s reported salary also appears suspect. Despite the team’s struggles in recent memory, Milan are still a big club and can easily afford more than the rumored figure of 1.5 million Euros, a number identical to the 1.5 million dollars Zlatan made with LA in 2018.
Additionally you have to wonder why Ibra would leave Los Angeles, a city where Zlatan is a legitimate sports superstar. (To get an idea of how hard that is to pull off, consider Carlos Vela, a Mexican national team star balling in downtown LA, isn’t in the same stratosphere) If Ibra’s happy in MLS, as the Mirror points out, why would he uproot and depart?
Things could always change, but as others have noted it appears Zlatan’s motivation this off season is to leverage his newfound position as the star of the league into a massive payday. (Can’t say he doesn’t deserve it either)
And now, some good news: The reliable Kevin Baxter has revealed Ibra’s contract situation could be resolved as early as next week. (FWIW we’ve heard as much)
“We have a very positive relationship with Zlatan and continue to be in conversations with him. Our hope and expectation is he’s going to be back,” said Klein, who could have a resolution on Ibrahimovic’s situation as early as this week, when Galaxy players return to StubHub Center for end-of-season exit interviews.
We’ll keep you updated.
Update: LA have announced a media session Tuesday with President Chris Klein and the Galaxy roster, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be in attendance.
The @LAGalaxy have scheduled a media event Tuesday in which president Chris Klein and the players, including @Ibra_official, will be available. I don't believe the team would make Zlatan available unless it knew what he was about to say was good news.— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) November 5, 2018
What will we learn tomorrow morning?