After having a critic-silencing first season with Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is linked with a move away from the Old Trafford club.
The Swedish superstar was linked with the Los Angeles Galaxy during the summer but the former Paris Saint-Germain star signed with United on a free from the Ligue 1 champions. Now, Ibrahimovic is once again rumoured to be heading to the west coast of the United States. The 35-year-old received criticism for his age with many claiming he would fail in the Premier League. He has proven them wrong, scoring over 20 goals, some of which are match-winners in big games such as the EFL Cup final.
Ibrahimovic has been a vital piece to the puzzle for United this season so it would be a massive loss to the club if he were to move at the end of the year. Only on a one-year contract, Ibrahimovic has been rumoured to be in the works of a new contract with United but if the Swede desires a move to MLS, the Galaxy would be the best option for him. LA has the room for him after both Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard left the club at the end of last season; however, MLS is tricky when big-money players are trying to get signed.
The MLS has a salary cap, which gives clubs the opportunity to have three players on Designated Player contracts. These players earn millions of dollars and their contracts do not affect the salary cap. Kaka is the highest paid MLS player but Ibrahimovic is set to pass the Orlando City midfielder if he is to sign with the five-time MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy. In a recent anonymous survey of MLS players, 22 percent of those surveyed said they want Ibrahimovic to come to MLS, more than any other player. Wayne Rooney received 6 percent of the vote.
Ibrahimovic would be a success in MLS, with his massive size and nose for goals, but why would the striker leave Europe after having consistent success at every club he has played for? Is he feeling his age even though he is playing better than many 25-year-olds? It is feasible that Ibrahimovic would leave United at the end of the year if the club fails to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, a tournament that Ibrahimovic has not won. Jose Mourinho will have to keep him motivated to stay on at the club and work to help United get back to the top of the Premier League table. Unfortunately, Ibrahimovic’s dominant days are numbered. Even though he is scoring at an incredible rate for a striker of his age in the league he is playing in, this certainly cannot stay consistent beyond the next two years.
He will get a rest for the next three domestic matches after receiving a three-match ban for an elbow in United’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against Bournemouth. This break for Ibrahimovic will give him a chance to recover and could help him get to the end of the season with little fatigue. Ibrahimovic played an important role yet again in Thursday’s Europa League round of 16 first leg match at FC Rostov, getting an assist on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s opening goal in Russia. Even if he does not score, Ibrahimovic plays a role in most of United’s goals.
Leaving United for MLS, specifically, the Galaxy will be viewed as a retirement move. He can sit on the California beaches and put his feet up. But, MLS is getting stronger each year and is no longer the league it was. Gerrard learned that the hard way at the Galaxy and Ibrahimovic could learn that too. The difference between Ibrahimovic and Gerrard, though, is that Ibrahimovic is still playing world-class football in the Premier League while Gerrard was slipping away.