Despite being banned from signing new players until January 2018, Atletico Madrid are being linked with a move for former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic is currently recovering from a severe knee injury that kept him out of action for the final portion of the Premier League season, but could be fit in time for the second half of 2017-18. The timing would fit perfectly with Atletico’s ban being lifted as the club can add new players on January 1.
Ibrahimovic has also been linked with moves to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy and back to Manchester United once fully fit. Atletico are reportedly courting former player Diego Costa, who is not wanted by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Ibrahimovic could be a plan B for the Spanish side, however, if that deal does not come off.
Italy’s Tuttosport believes Atletico could bring in Ibrahimovic this summer to rehabilitate his knee injury before fully registering him in January. It would provide the Swede with a chance to become familiarised with the team before being allowed to play.
Ibrahimovic is represented by super-agent Mino Raiola, who has spoken of the striker’s desire to continue playing at the highest level in Europe. Despite his claims, Ibrahimovic’s sportswear company released a recent add that led many to believe he would be signing with the Galaxy. Although people who want to read into the advertisement could also speculate the Swede is bound for the Galaxy’s new city rivals Los Angeles FC; who will begin play in MLS in 2018.
While the idea of Ibrahimovic joining Atletico in January sounds plausible, it would also be a good time for him to join one of MLS’s Los Angeles clubs. The league plays spring to autumn, and joining in January would allow him to kickoff the season with his new club in March.
Ibrahimovic would be 36-years old by the time he played an official match for Atletico and with his high wages, may not be as an attractive additional as believed. The star striker earned a base salary of £367,640-a-week with Manchester United. Whether Atletico could or would want to afford his more than £19 million a season wage is another question.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 2016-17 key stats:
- 17 goals in 28 Premier League matches
- 5 assists in 28 Premier League matches
- 4.1 shots per Premier League match
- 0.6 goals per 90 minute Premier League match