The Rossoneri have already acquired Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano to lead the front line for Mihajlovic in 2015-16. However, a certain Swedish footballer remains in the crosshairs of Adriano Galliani as PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic tops the summer wish list, a player who has the ability to carry a team with ease. Will the 33-year old reunite with his former club and bring them back to being among Europe’s best?
When the Swedish international made the switch from Barcelona to A.C. Milan back in the summer off 2010, it was groundbreaking. Their hated rival Inter was fresh off an impressive treble season under Jose Mourinho and the rossoneri knew they had to regain bragging rights in the city of Milan. One of the world’s most polarizing and gifted footballers in Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the move back to Italy after falling out with former Catalan boss Pep Guardiola, instantly making Massimiliano Allegri’s side an immediate contender to recoup the Scudetto.
A solid first season for the ex-Inter striker propelled the Rossoneri to their 18th league title, their first since the 03-04 campaign. In addition to a first place finish in the Italian top flight, the red and black corralled the Supercoppa in 2011 before being runner-up to Juventus in the 2011-12 season in Serie A despite the former bianconeri forward earning capocannoniere honors. Ibrahimovic capped off his 2nd and final season with the San Siro side by scoring 35 goals in all competitions along with an impressive thirteen assists.
In just two seasons with the 7-time Champions League winners, the Malmo youth product finished with 56 goals and 26 assists, both very impressive tallies. In the summer of 2012, both Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva were sold to Paris Saint-Germain, marking the end of an era as many longtime players of the club also departed for either retirement or a new journey.
The past is the past yet Ibrahimovic remains one of the world’s best at his respective position on the field. Since his arrival for the 2012-13 season, his first with the Parisian side, Ibrahimovic’s goals and assists totals (all competitions) are as follows (according to transfermarkt):
2012-13: 35 goals, 17 assists
2013-14: 41 goals, 18 assists
2014-15: 30 goals, 8 assists
Based off these numbers, its clear the Big Swede isn’t effected by his growing age as he has remained one of the top goal scorers in Ligue 1. Despite turning 34 this October, there are no signs of the former Ajax star slowing down which now raises the question: Should Milan turn to an aging player like Ibrahimovic to halt their prolonged slump?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic still has the talent to carry a team on his own as he is an exceptional distributor of the ball while still remaining a legitimate scoring threat with confidence. His unique blend of size, strength and skill is nearly impossible to match in this era of football which is why he still manages to post gaudy numbers year after year. From this perspective, the answer to the above question is quite clear. However, there are many out there who feel that while he would be an incredible addition to this side, both the midfield and the defense remain the bigger priorities, which is tough to argue against. The fact that Milan is coming off one of their worst defensive displays as a team in years and the midfield is still a huge “red flag” leads the proud red and black fanbase to covet the signatures of Alessio Romagnoli and Axel Wistel first before an Ibrahimovic.
On the other end, Ibrahimovic would give Milan a true star to build around for at least the next few years as they transition the club into the new era under Silvio Berlusconi and Bee Taechaubol. By bringing in the Swedish captain, not only does the club have an increased chance to get back into the European positioning of Serie A, they also have a pure leader who can make many around him marginally better which is what he did during his first tenure with Milan. Players like Antonio Nocerino and Kevin Prince Boateng exceeded expectations, at least for a few seasons, due to the fact that clubs had to keep their eyes honed in on Ibrahimovic. In this current squad, players like M’baye Niang, Carlos Bacca and many others could benefit from a player like Ibrahimovic as he absorbs the pressure, creating space for others to strive. In addition, if Milan was to qualify for the UEFA Champions League they would reap the benefits of the added funds allowing them to be a more attractive destination for bigger names the following season which would in return make a transition to a successful Milan term much smoother.
Aside from just pure performance on the pitch, Ibrahimovic would give the club so much more: a face. By bringing back one of the decades best player’s, the Rossoneri would have an icon the world could once again associate with.
With Paris Saint-Germain all but certain to finalize a deal to bring in Angel Di Maria from Manchester United and interest in Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette lingering in the final month of the mercato, Ibrahimovic could be freed by Laurent Blanc, allowing him to return back to Italy. The final weeks of the summer transfer window are critical for determining how the club will fare this upcoming season and many concerns have yet to be cleared.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Milan: the perfect fit. But will their successful relationship be rekindled?