Ray McLachlan | Sat 24/02/2018 - 06:19 EST

MLS Transfer Rumours: Is The Galaxy Big Enough For Zlatan?

MLS Transfer Rumours: Is The Galaxy Big Enough For Zlatan?

Zlatan's Remarkable Career To Date

It is hard to believe that Ibrahimovic will turn 37 before the end of the MLS season. Prior to the ACL tear that he experienced during his time at Manchester United, the enigmatic striker was still performing as good as he ever has, and would certainly be an asset to whichever team he joins next. In typical Zlatan style, the Swede recovered from a knee injury that would have ended the careers of most players his age. Although he has had little game time since, you wouldn't back against him playing until he turns 40.

Ibrahimovic's 32 trophies have been earned across a number of Europe's best leagues. He has won league titles in the Netherlands (twice with Ajax), Italy (three times with Inter Milan and once with AC Milan), Spain (once with Barcelona) and France (four consecutive seasons with Paris Saint-Germain). Zlatan has also won the UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Europa League trophy, plus a number of domestic cups.

His individual honours go on and on. He has been rated as the third-best player of the generation behind the out-of-this-world Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and has achieved more than a handful of league player of the year and team of the year awards in Italy and France. Arguably the most memorable Zlatan moment came in the Swedish national team when he scored an outrageous bicycle kick that won the 2013 Puskás Award.

Scoring goals is certainly his forte. Zlatan has won a number of golden boot awards and boasts 421 goals from 730 senior appearances. His most productive spell came in Paris where he netted 156 times in just 180 matches. He is also the Swedish national team's all-time top goal scorer with 62 from 116 appearances. 

One of the few trophies that has eluded the Swede is the World Cup, although plenty of superstars including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have failed to win the tournament. The other major trophy is the European Cup / UEFA Champions League. It is astonishing that despite being one of the best players in his generation, and being involved in the tournament with seven different sides, Zlatan has not received a Champions League winners medal.

Is He On The Outer At Manchester United?

All good things must come to an end, and the writing was on the wall for Zlatan when he was injured back in April. Manchester United originally did not renew the Swede's contract, although when it became apparent that he would be able to return to the pitch, the Red Devils offered another one-year deal. Since making his comeback in late November, Ibrahimovic has rarely been seen, and has reportedly been suffering from further knee complaints.

Even if he is to return to the starting lineup, he will be competing for minutes with Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, and it's hard to see where the once pivotal forward now fits in at United.

After speculation arose regarding Zlatan's potential departure, manager Jose Mourinho stated that he was unaware the Swede wanted to move, but would see no issue in terminating his contract early if he wished to move to a different league.

Is There Traction To The LA Galaxy Rumours?

There sure is. Prior to the Swede's move to Manchester United in mid 2016, the Galaxy were favourites to sign Zlatan, paying as low as -150 at one stage.

The Galaxy rumours didn't go away even after Zlatan signed for United. Ibrahimovic reportedly turned down the opportunity to become the highest-paid player in MLS history when he elected to re-sign with Manchester United for the 2017-18 season.

The media are all over this story at present. There were reports in late January that Zlatan had been shopping for property in Los Angeles, and the Galaxy would be the most likely candidates. English betting site Sun Bets listed Ibrahimovic at -300 to make the move in January, so surely where there's smoke, there's fire.

Do The Galaxy Need Ibrahimovic?

Do they ever. The glamour club is the most successful in the history of the MLS, but a shocking 2017 saw them finish last in the Western Conference and light years away from the top teams. While it was mainly their defensive efforts that were lacking in polish, they could sure use some quality at the top of the line. Big money signing Giovani dos Santos was simply not good enough last year.

The Galaxy should be doing everything in their power to show the MLS and their fans that 2017 was merely a blip in the radar for the prestigious club, particularly as they face losing some of their fan base to new rivals LA FC. The best way to do that is to bring in players of superior quality, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the man to ensure goals are scored, games are won, and most importantly, fans are packing out StubHub Center.

The important thing for the Galaxy is to ensure they don't get too caught up in the ongoing speculation. The last thing they want to do is start their season poorly, as Ibrahimovic may be less willing to join a club that has no realistic chance of winning silverware.

When Will Ibrahimovic Sign?

There are a number of factors to consider here. Firstly, Ibrahimovic is under contract until the end of the English season (June), so if United's bosses refuse to let him go, he will need to wait until then to secure a move. This appears to be unlikely after Mourinho confirmed the club would not stand in his way if he desired to leave prior to the end of the season.

It does not appear as though we will see Ibrahimovic at the Galaxy prior to the MLS season. After all, there's barely a week until the campaign kicks off, and you would think that if this deal was going to go ahead we would have seen Zlatan make a move well before the first match. The Galaxy staff and select players have confirmed they would love to have the Swede, although stopped short of confirming formalities.

We feel as though there is one key factor that many other media outlets have missed. It's no coincidence why we began this article with a list of Zlatan's achievements (and things he has yet to achieve). His illustrious career will always look a little light without a Champions League winners medal, and with Manchester United still in the competition in this season's edition, we may see him wait it out with the club. This could mean a transfer in May (unless United get knocked out earlier).

What Are The Alternatives For Zlatan?

China are throwing considerable amounts of money at top players, and they will be undoubtedly trying to lure in Ibrahimovic. We are fairly certain that the Swede will move for his ego rather than money when he does depart Manchester United. 

We quite like the idea of Ibrahimovic linking up with David Beckham's new Miami franchise at some point, although the team does not launch until 2020. The pair played alongside each other at Paris Saint Germain in 2013 and the east coast of the US is a much shorter trip for a European-based international. 

What is certain is that Ibrahimovic will not stay and play a squad role at Manchester United. He needs to be one of the star attractions and he will certainly find happiness in a league like the MLS.

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Category : Soccer

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