Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s spell with the LA Galaxy came to an end earlier this month, bringing an end to an electrifying and controversial time in the “City of Angels” fit for a Hollywood movie. The big Swede certainly has plenty of suitors to choose from and he will be able to choose his next move in the January transfer window.
A move back to Europe seems the most likely choice for the big striker. A move outside of Europe could also be on the cards. But with the Champions League trophy missing from his cabinet, a move to Europe, one who is in the Champions League would surely be the preferable choice for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Realistically there are only a few teams that could afford him. So let’s break down the leading candidates vying for Ibrahimovic’s signature both in Europe and abroad.
Italy has long been described by Ibrahimovic as his “second home”. And there is no short supply of former teams that could use his goals. The Rossoneri, aka A.C Milan have been lacking goals this season, they currently sit 14th in the league and have only scored 11 goals in 12 games. They could certainly use the Swede’s natural instincts in front of goal. Krzysztof Piatek’s stock has plummeted rapidly after his breakout season in 2018 for Milan but has failed to repeat his stunning first season. But with the club facing Financial Fair Play penalties, they will need to move some serious money to bring him back “home”.
Cross city rivals Inter Milan could another former club the Swede could join. Conte is in the market for another forward, and although he would bring goals, his arrival would also mean a tactical shift which seems unlikely to happen. On top of that Ibrahimovic wants to win the Champions League. Come January Inter Milan may have already been eliminated as they sit third behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. Would Zlatan be content with the Europa League with either Inter Milan or AC Milan?
Another of his former teams in Italy; Juventus have plenty of strikers at their disposable with Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain all at Maurizio Sarri’s disposable. Adding Zlatan would be overkill in an already stacked attack. Much like Juventus French side Paris Saint Germain are also stacked upfront. With forwards Mauri Icardi and Edison Cavani, as well as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
A return back to England could also be on the cards, Manchester United are in desperate need of goals, and Zlatan can provide that. But Ole Gunner Solskjaer and Woodward are unlikely to make rash transfer decisions come January. Plenty of rumours have been flying around that Zlatan could see a return back to Spain. Barcelona seems like an unlikely choice, considering his past relationship, although it was with Pep Guardiola and not Barcelona itself.
There is also the possibility of Zlatan Ibrahimović going back home to Sweden. The scene of his hometown club- Malmo FF, could be a possibility that he has talked of the possibility of. However, it doesn’t appear that Zlatan is looking to end his career just yet even though it is a trophy that is missing from his cabinet. With the latest news of Ibrahimović buying shares in Malmo’s long-time rivals- Hammarby Fotboll, would the fans be willing to welcome him back with open arms?
Germany could be his next destination, having not “conquered” the Bundesliga yet, and Bayern Munich could use a striker to back up the best striker in the world in Lewandowski. But would Zlatan want to play second fiddle? Borussia Dortmund could be another destination in mind but signing the Swede would mean a change in tactics to fit the team around him and Zlatan doesn’t seem like the player who wants to press all game.
Aside from Barcelona, the other big two could prove problematic in Spain. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are replenishing their squad, replacing their aging stars, with the likes of Luka Jovic, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio all look set to lead the line for the Galacticos. They would be better off investing in their midfield and defence. Atletico Madrid also has plenty in attack, but they lack the necessary cap space to lure Ibrahimovic to Madrid. Manchester City is an unlikely choice because of his relationship with Guardiola. The only trophy missing in his cabinet is the Champions League trophy and Liverpool seem to be the best team to achieve that. But would Klopp risk the culture and atmosphere he’s worked hard to perfect for the Swedish striker?
If Zlatan Ibrahimovic is looking to expand his horizon, there are other destinations outside of Europe that interest him. Australian side Perth Glory is rumoured to be interested in bringing Zlatan over in a special six-game appearance. Although it will likely not happen, his influence and prestige would certainly bring another level of excitement to a stagnating A-League. Would Zlatan be willing to play at a lower level for a limited amount of games?
The Chinese Super League and the J-League in Japan have become popular destinations for aging stars to retire at but so far, there has been no interest as of yet. Whatever the choice, you can expect it to be unveiled in the grandness we have come to expect from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And the world will be eagerly awaiting his decision.
Post by Kevin Wong. Follow him here on Twitter.