Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

Zlatan returns!

CARSON, Calif. — Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the LA Galaxy for the 2019 season, the club announced on Tuesday. And along with his return, the 38-year-old Swede has signed a new contract that will make him a Designated Player for the upcoming season. 

The terms of the contract were not released. Although, speculation currently has Ibrahimovic claiming the highest-paid player in the league tag and could place the Swede’s contract in the range of $8-million.

Ibrahimovic joined the Galaxy in March of 2018 after being released from his Manchester United contract. The six-foot-five superstar appeared in 27 games for the Galaxy last season scoring 22 goals and adding 10 assists. The 22 goals placed him second in the league behind Golden Boot winner, Josef Martinez.

“We are very pleased to sign Zlatan to a new contract that will see him return for the 2019 season,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese in a press release. “He showed his value last season and we look forward to him representing our club next year. With Zlatan returning, we will continue to improve our team in advance of the season.”

But Ibrahimovic’s return wasn’t always a certainty. When he signed with the Galaxy he was inked to a two-year deal that would have paid him $1.5-million per season — a steal by most standards but also a realization that the Galaxy already had three DP’s signed to contracts and that Ibrahimovic was coming off a major leg injury.

And persistent rumors had linked him with AC Milan. Although, it looks as if those talks never really got off the ground and that Ibrahimovic, and his agent, were simply keeping the pressure on the Galaxy. 

But with the new contract to Ibrahimovic, the Galaxy have now found themselves locked into four DP’s — Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Ibrahimovic. A situation that is only allowed in the offseason and only until the roster compliance date that usually takes place just before the season starts in March. 

The club, through a multitude of different ways, will need to free up a DP slot by either trading, buying-out, or renegotiating a contract of any of the players mentioned above. Although it’s largely assuemd that Giovani dos Santos is the player most-likely to make way for Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic was clearly due the raise in compensation. And if the Galaxy can be more competitive this season, he’ll once again remind the league and the soccer world what he is capable of.