ESPN reported on Thursday that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be released from his Manchester United contract in order to make a move to Major League soccer. Mark Ogden, ESPN Senior Writer, reported that the 36-year old Swedish striker will be headed to the United States, with his eye on the west coast.
Shortly after that report, LA Times soccer reporter, Kevin Baxter confirmed the signing of the 36-year old Swedish striker via twitter.
@Ibra_official has signed with @LAGalaxy
— Kevin Baxter 🇺🇦🏳️🌈 (@kbaxter11) March 22, 2018
Corner of the Galaxy, on the most recent podcast (Monday, March 19), reported that a Galaxy announcement for the striker could be made in the next week. With Baxter, at the time, quoting sources that placed the deal as nearly done.
Ibrahimovic, once routinely mentioned alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, and Leonel Messi as one of the biggest names in the sport, is coming off a severe injury that could have seen his career come to an end. In a Europa League game against Anderlecht in April of 2017, the striker jumped and landed awkwardly causing “significant knee ligament damage.”
He remained out of action for more than six and half months, before returning to the field for United. But that wouldn’t last long as another leg injury kept him out of the lineup for good, along with United’s £90 million purchase of Romelu Lukaku.
Relegated to the bench, Ibrahimovic may see his last chance at significant playing time lying in MLS.
And there seems to be no doubt that United crashing out of the Champions’ League, a trophy Ibrahimovic had been keen to hoist, also played a significant role for the striker. With no chances of a trophy and just four months left on his contract, a path opened for the Galaxy to acquire the aging superstar.
Questions will certainly be asked about his overall health and his ability to play regular minutes for a side that rebuilt heavily in the offseason. Even the acquisition of striker Ola Kamara seems to run contrary to Ibrahimovic joining the club.
But Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid remarked earlier in the year that the club was still looking to acquire some depth at the striker position. Ibrahimovic would certainly be that depth and a paring of Kamara and Ibrahimovic might be a great look.
To add to the discussion, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl is now reporting that Ibrahimovic has signed a two-year for a total of $3 million. That puts Ibrahimovic firmly in the Targeted Allocation Money designation and means the Galaxy can keep all three of their current Designated Players – Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, and Romain Alessandrini.
The $3 million dollar deal will see Ibrahimovic stay in Los Angeles through the 2019 season. The amount of money, well below a league maximum of any sort, increases the overall appeal of the deal, as only an additional international slot will be required for his addition to the Galaxy roster.
SI: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has signed a 2-year, $3 million deal with LA Galaxy on a TAM contract. Could be in the Galaxy squad for its March 31 rivalry game vs LAFC on big FOX https://t.co/BiTijMQ6jf
— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) March 22, 2018
The Galaxy will next faceoff against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, March 24 (7 p.m. on SpectrumSN and SpectrumDeportes) before hosting LAFC on March 31 in front of a sold-out crowd.
Details of when Ibrahimovic will make his debut has not been released and no official announcement from the Galaxy has been made. Although, with all the buzz surrounding his move, an official announcement is expected by weeks end.