With Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s LA Galaxy contract running out at the end of the year, many clubs could be keeping an eye on the Swede. The manner in which he has recuperated from knee problems has been impressive and that says a lot about the man’s natural fitness and determination.
Having suffered two knee injuries during his time at Manchester United, Zlatan rocked the MLS like nothing ever went wrong. The 38-year-old now boasts of a record of 52 goals and 14 assists in just 56 appearances in the MLS. A record like that could very well force teams into considering a move for him.
The fans of the two Milan seem vocal about their intentions about resigning a former favourite of theirs. Both clubs have their own issues to deal with and it would worth arguing whether Zlatan would solve their problems.
Questions have been raised about Krzysztof Piatek’s abilities in the recent few weeks. The Pole has two goals and both have been penalties. Former manager Marco Giampaolo took the former Genoa man off for summer signing Rafael Leao in his last game against Genoa and that worked.
Leao won a penalty for the Rossoneri playing in his preferred position. This could have been a sign of things for how Stefano Pioli could use the Portuguese.
The Milan side has often been accused of being mentally fragile. It has been evident at many occasions already this season. The loss to Torino saw them falter after going a goal up. They looked mentally torn in the Fiorentina loss.
They lost their calm against Genoa and nearly conceded in stoppage time. Pepe Reina’s penalty save gave them all three points. The midfield imbalance was glaring under Giampaolo.
A mentality like that screams of stronger leaders and characters like Zlatan himself. He’s been there and has won trophies with Milan. In his time at LA, he has scored only three goals less than how many Milan scored last season under Rino Gattuso.
The argument from Milan fans stems more from the mentality issues that the side has and less from a lack of goals. Giampaolo had lost the dressing room in a very short time. The players had stopped playing for him and Giampaolo could never get his tactical philosophy across.
The Italian had spats with players, who could not buy into his football ideas. But Pioli’s ideas are less complex. His Fiorentina and Lazio sides tried to play direct football, relying on high pressing.
Pioli’s Fiorentina had the 8th highest amount of possession in the 2017-18 season (per Whoscored) but they still had the third-highest number of shots per game. That’s a clear sign of why his system will be easier for the players to catch.
Despite that, a player like Zlatan is never a bad player for a dressing room. Milan’s average age was 23.6 (as per Transfermarkt) under Giampaolo and they can make do with the experience of a veteran like Zlatan.
But it is Zlatan demands that can scupper a possible deal for the Rossoneri. His wage demands would be the biggest problem. Secondly, he would want to play regularly. Milan can’t really play Zlatan regularly when they’re building for the future with Leao and Piatek.
As far as Inter go, Antonio Conte has been blessed with striking options such as Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Lautaro Martinez and Matteo Politano.
Sanchez, who could be out for the next 2-3 months after having damaged his ankle ligament on international duty. The Chilean was seen as the second-choice to Lukaku and started alongside Martinez against Sampdoria and Barcelona.
The injury means that the Manchester United loanee could be out until February, leaving the spot of Lukaku’s second-choice free. Zlatan developed a good relationship with the Belgian by sharing a dressing room with him at Old Trafford.
Conte’s winning mentality is very much similar to that of Jose Mourinho’s- something Zlatan would love. Their playing styles are direct and pragmatic. The manner in which the Italian has rotated the side constantly means that Politano, Sanchez and Martinez have already got their chances.
This means that a player like Zlatan would get his chances constantly. He would have an influence in the dressing room that Conte would appreciate.
But again, the problem relates to the wage bill. Inter are yet to pay the full transfer fees for Nicolo Barella and Sensi. They had to dig deep to sign Lukaku. They aren’t paying Sanchez’s full wages too. Zlatan would demand higher wages than possibly every player in the team- something Inter can ill-afford.