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What next for Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final : News Photo
Zlatan was released by Manchester United earlier this month
Trevor Murray
FEATURED WRITER
Modified 13 Jun 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shock departure from Manchester United means that the Red Devils are without their top scorer from last season.

The legendary Sweden international was the club’s top scorer last season, despite being shackled with a suspension as well as getting sidelined with a debilitating injury for the final few weeks.

With Alvaro Morata’s transfer from Real Madrid set to be completed in the coming days, United appear to have already moved on from Ibra and are looking to build a new-look attack.

But what about Ibra? What does the future hold for him?

MLS beckons – will Zlatan answer the call?

Often dubbed a retirement home for big stars, MLS is perhaps not the most appealing of options available to Ibrahimovic right now. Used to playing at the very highest levels, the free agent has proved that age is just a number with some standout displays since turning 30 five years ago and might want to hold out for a better move.

However, he might just have to pack his things for America for a little while as a way to get back into the swing of things.

Also read: Why Manchester United should sign Morata and not Griezmann

The quality of football on show is nowhere near that of the top European leagues, but in saying that, it would be a great platform for the big Swede to bag plenty more goals and prove one final time that he can net them wherever he goes. More than that, a half-season stay would shake off any cobwebs of such a long stint on the sidelines.

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LA Galaxy are reported to be leading the Stateside hunt for Ibra’s services.

In recent days, Spanish publication Marca have linked him heavily with a move to Galaxy which would see him follow in the footsteps of former Red Devil David Beckham.

Having netted 28 goals in 46 appearances for United, Ibra would be confident of scoring even more in the USA, despite currently dealing with an injury which means he is unlikely to play any competitive football until early 2018.

China would offer him all the wages he wants

Late 2016 saw Ibra linked with a move to the Chinese Super League and one can be sure there will be offers floating his way from Asia in the coming days and weeks – if they haven’t come already, that is.

At United, he was earning a reported basic £360,000-a-week in wages, and that is something which would put a lot of clubs off even attempting to earn his signature. He's just too pricey for a lot of teams out there.

However, over in China, there is an abundance of cash right now.

Also read: 5 possible destinations for Zlatan Ibrahimovic after being released by Manchester United

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With the likes of Hulk and Oscar having already blazed a trail there, Ibra knows that the opportunities are available, the big wages are there and he would be adored by the fans – coming in fresh to a new environment, the chance to become the best striker in the league and lap up all the plaudits is not something the former Paris Saint-Germain star would pass up lightly.

A lover of the limelight – if you remember the scenes when Oscar went to China – he would have the chance to cause pandemonium with a high-profile move to the likes of Guangzhou Evergrande or another big CSL team.

Serie A – AC Milan interested

FBL-ENG-PR-SUNDERLAND-MAN UTD : News Photo
Ibra could make Milan great again

There is a revolution happening at the San Siro right now – and Ibrahimovic might just be tempted to spearhead the action.

A few high-profile names are ready to come in and the club have already snapped up Porto’s highly-rated Andre Silva, plus Gianluigi Donnarumma looks as though his future at the club has been decided.

AC Milan were once a powerhouse of European football, but they have not been themselves for quite some time now. However, following the takeover by Rossoneri Sport, it looks like the club are finally on the road back to greatness.

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Zlatan could be the superstar striker the club need to help propel them back to the big time.

Considering he left Milan at the behest of other parties (Mino Raiola recently told Corriere dello Sport that Zlatan never wanted to depart), a return to deal with unfinished business might well be on the cards.

A return to Malmo FF?

Back to where it all started

At 35 years of age, many strikers would happily welcome a return to their boyhood club as the end of their career comes into focus.

Considering the world-class touches he sprinkled on United’s season just ended, however, it might seem a tad premature to assume he’s destined for the scrapheap due to a knee injury.

Long-term injuries as serious as the one Ibra is dealing with are not to be taken lightly, though, and it would be in Ibra’s best interests to not rule out a move to Malmo FF just yet.

It’s unlikely he’ll rush into any decisions regarding his future just yet, so Malmo could yet happen which would be a huge coup for the club.

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After all, who could forget the kind words he lavished on them not so long ago:

“Somewhere inside me that is still my team, even if I represent PSG, Juventus or the other clubs. Malmo is still my team, there is no other one for me.”

Short-term stint at United again?

Despite being released by the club, there have been rumours swirling around that United are not ruling out offering him a short-term deal in the new year.

It would all be reliant on the towering Swede recovering fully from his knee injury – and would obviously only work if he has not signed elsewhere by then – and looking sharp enough to compliment their attack.

The source comes via the Manchester Evening News and, understandably has Red Devil fans very excited.

In many ways, it would make sense. Having parted ways on good terms, the door is still open for a potential return. As to why they released him – it would have been silly to keep him on, paying unnecessary wages when he can’t play.

When the time comes in 2018, United will be in as good a position to vie for his signature as anyone else. What a reunion that would be, especially with the 13-time Premier League champions competing in the UEFA Champions League once more.

Published 13 Jun 2017, 23:13 IST
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