One of the hottest whispers this week concerns PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with a transfer to Arsenal potentially on the cards. Let’s discuss the move in-depth.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t do trials. If he did, there’s a possibility that he could have pulled on an Arsenal shirt professionally back in 2000, when the Swedish International met with Arsene Wenger to discuss a possible move to north London.
The manager insisted on a trial for the young striker, while Ibrahimovic wanted to be wooed by Wenger. Both went on to success after going their separate ways, but there’s a chance they could finally negotiate a deal over a decade later.
As it is, it’s taken over 16 years to reconcile their differences, and at the age of 34, there isn’t much time left to make it happen. His index scored peaked at 3.5 on Sunday, settling at a solid 3.3 by the end of the day.
The forward has been prolific during his spell at Paris Saint Germain, helping to establish the team as one of the stronger forces in European football. He’s also cemented himself as one of the greats of the game, cultivating a persona that’s half arrogance, half brilliance.
To cap it all, he notched four goals yesterday as PSG beat Troyes 9-0. The win represents a new record for the biggest away victory in Ligue 1, and the four strikes take his tally to 31 goals in just 25 appearances this season.
It seems his time in Paris is definitely coming to an end, with the player saying the only way he would stay is if they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of him. Nonetheless, away from all the bravado, it’s clear that he gave a great deal to the club over the years, and used his talent and charisma to great effect.
As we discussed last week, Arsenal are in desperate need of support up front. The loss to Watford yesterday in the FA Cup compounded their position, highlighting just how wasteful they are at times. They had 20 shots, but couldn’t find the net until they were 2-0 down with a couple of minutes to go. Would the Swede have allowed so many chances to go begging? It’s unlikely.
With respect, Ibrahimovic is a class above Christian Benteke, and it would show that Arsenal still mean business, after a torrid season in which a top four finish just doesn’t seem like enough for a club of their stature.
However, Ibrahimovic also been linked with a number of clubs across the globe, while Arsenal have a strict policy when it comes to signing players over the age of 30. One year contracts are usually all that’s offered, and that may not be enough considering it could be his last big-money move. Would either side be willing to give a little ground? History suggests that it might be difficult to hammer out a deal.
A potential worry is; does he still have what it takes to complete at the highest level in a league that is more rigorous and competitive by default? The way he helped to put Chelsea to the sword in the Champions League should provide part of the answer, but could he perform at a sustained level consistently? We’ll have to wait and see.
With an authenticity score of 63, it does seem like the deal could actually happen, and the player himself seems open to a move to the Premier League. As always, you’ll have to temper any expectations given his age, but it’s hard not to expect magic. West Ham may not be able to provide a platform for the forward, but nearly every big club in England is being linked with a potential transfer.
He’s a luxury forward who’s starting to get on a bit, but he’s still in good shape, and his name alone would give Arsenal a lift. If they truly want to shake the cobwebs after a season that could end in no silverware, a world class striker could be the jolt they need.
If he signs, he’ll be expected to play, so it could signal the end of Olivier Giroud’s time at the Gunners. It makes more sense to keep the Frenchman to supplement the team's attack, but there’s no chance they would start together, considering that both tend to play as a traditional target man.
The only impediments to the deal are probably wages or his age, while there’s still a chance he could sign a new deal to stay in Paris. It’s likely the last big move of his career before his powers truly start to wane, and Arsenal desperately need more leaders on the pitch. Could they go for one of the biggest names in world football?
Keep checking the index for any new updates to the story.