With a single Italian source (Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport/ Calciomercato.com) reporting that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has signed a deal with Serie A side AC Milan, the internet has been flooded with articles claiming the six-foot-five Swede is on his way out from the LA Galaxy.
And while it seems likely that there is at least some truth to the rumors, a source close to the club has told CoG that the reports currently being circulated are “not accurate” and that Ibrahimovic is still a Galaxy player.
@LAGalaxy said the story is not true. My source is Italy says the story is not true….yet. Feeling in Italy seems to say this is going to happen. I'm not so sure, I think Zlatan wants to come back but he's definitely exploring his options
— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) November 20, 2018
In fact, Ibrahimovic said the same thing just weeks ago when he took part in the Galaxy’s final media availability of the 2018 season.
“It’s no secret, there is interest from Europe,” Ibrahimovic told reporters on November 6. “Absolutely, but my priority is Galaxy. I am here and I’m happy to be here. Interest, there will always be interest.”
Ibrahimovic scored 22 goals and assisted 10 times in his debut season with the club while capturing both the MLS Newcomer of the Year award, the MLS Goal of the Year award, the Galaxy’s Golden Boot award, and the Galaxy’s Most Valuable Player of the year award. But ultimately, the team missed the playoffs and fell well short of the lofty expectations that Ibrahimovic had set.
His contract, worth $3-million over two years, is currently set to run through the 2019 season. Although Galaxy President Chris Klein has acknowledged that it’s better to make Ibrahimovic happy than force him to return with a contract he’s not satisfied with.
The deal with AC Milan is reportedly for an initial six-month term that would start in January and could be extended by another 12 months for a total of around $2,272,500 (2-million Euros). But some speculation has even put the deal as part of some larger loan package between the Galaxy and Milan.
Ibrahimovic, however, has already made his views clear on a loan.
“I don’t go abroad and do these things, loan,” he said. “I don’t need that. If I belong to one club, I stay on one club and focus on that club. Give all my attention to that club, so that is not in my mind. I am here.”
Officially, the Galaxy don’t comment on rumors – a practice that has remained relatively consistent throughout the years and there is certainly not enough information to completely dismiss the reports.
But this whole situation feels like a crafty veteran keeping the pressure on the Galaxy to clean up their organization, give him more money, and put together a winning side for 2019, more than anything else.
After all, the Galaxy are currently without a general manager or a head coach and are approaching a busy roster-building section of the offseason calendar. If they fail to deliver on their promises, and reinforce the front office and the roster to Ibrahimovic’s standards, he’ll gladly go to his backup plan and make a return to Europe.
But until the Galaxy have had a chance to do that, he’ll likely remain under contract, remain in the news, and with the club. Even if that is just temporarily.
Don’t expect things to be quiet, however. Everything Ibrahimovic does is usually filled with rumor, intrigue, fanfare, and fiction. This offseason will be no different.