Yesterday, Italian website Tutto Mercato Web created a bit of buzz by announcing that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave Paris Saint-Germain after this season and has an eye toward Major League Soccer. The report stated that Orlando City may be Zlatan’s destination in MLS.
The 34-year-old Swedish international is under contract with PSG through June 30, 2016. He has scored four goals in five Ligue 1 games this season.
Look, no one is more eager to #DareToZlatan than I am, but this seems like a fairly preposterous rumor, given the player currently makes in excess of $16 million and has drawn very recent interest from clubs like AC Milan.
Ibra would be a devastating striker in Major League Soccer. Much like Didier Drogba came in and showed his class immediately, Zlatan would likely start scoring goals right away. A player of his quality could conceivably rewrite the MLS record book fairly quickly.
Further, he could make an immediate impact on the development of young strikers such as Cyle Larin and Bryan Rochez, who would benefit to seeing his moves and preparation every day in training. While both Larin and Rochez have shown great promise this season, particularly in recent outings, they still both have a lot to learn.
But this just doesn’t seem likely (or even credible) at this time. Ibra would command much more money than Chicharito, who Orlando City was unable to bring over in the summer transfer window. That isn’t to say the Lions aren’t putting out feelers to gauge Zlatan’s interest and find out where that price point might be. City is an ambitious club and if owners Flavio Augusto da Silva and Phil Rawlins aren’t able to afford the big Swede, at least they’ll want to know what the price tag says.
Despite Zlatan’s assertions a year ago that he finds the United States interesting and would like to play here, it seems too premature for Ibra to join MLS in 2016, even in his mid-30s. His arrival in MLS, if it comes, would likely demand a pay cut, a significant rise in MLS spending, or both. It would also likely be dependent upon a cessation of top European clubs having interest in signing him (or at least using him as a starter). None of that seems to shout “2016!” to me.
And if he does make a surprise move stateside, it will be interesting to see which team owns his discovery rights and how any deal to acquire the player might work out. We’d all love to see Ibra in purple, but this just doesn’t seem possible by next year.
Here’s to hoping I’m wrong and the club can defy my expectations.