Everyone knows Zlatan doesn’t stay too long in one place. That’s not a Zlatan Ibrahimovic quote, although it does sound like one. It’s simply one of life’s brutal truths, and one season in Ligue 1 with PSG might be enough for the best striker in the world, already considering a return to Italy, which surely means also coming back to one of his old clubs – AC Milan, Inter or Juventus.
Ibrahimovic just finished another splendid campaign, leading Paris Saint-Germain to their first league title since 1994, as the richest team in France and possibly Europe took its next step in their quest to become a European super power. They also reached the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in almost 20 years, knocked out by Barcelona despite not losing once in those two legs.
Ibrahimovic was fantastic, as we’ve mentioned; he scored 35 goals in all competitions for the club, finishing as the top scorer of the French league in what seemed like an almost easy season for him, pretty much scoring and dishing out assists at will, adding 10 in the Ligue 1 campaign.
But instead of trying to stay and win something bigger with Saint-Germain, that one title that has eluded him for his entire career (and Ibrahimovic is no longer a young man, turning 32 in four months), Ibrahimovic might give up the growing project of Paris in favor of a return to Italy, where he has always felt a lot more comfortable.
Naturally, it also means taking a salary cut. Juventus are the richest team in Italy these days and once again look to be the club that dominates the transfer market, but even they can’t match what Ibrahimovic is getting in Paris, which is around €12 million a season. That’s before we mention his transfer fee, which could be around €25-30 million. It might be something Juventus can withstand, but they have plans of using their transfer fund on more than just one player.
And how about Inter and AC Milan? It’s hard to understand the future thinking at these two clubs. Inter just suffered their worst season in recent memory, finishing outside of European qualification and will surely need something more than new & young blood to try and return to anywhere near the top of Italian football. At Milan, things look a bit better with a squad that managed to reach the Champions League in dramatic and possibly shady fashion, and most of their key players are only getting better with time.
The problem with adding Ibrahimovic is the total commitment to his way of playing the club needs to stick to. Of all three teams, Juventus, who are very midfield-based in their approach, fit that the least, but maybe in his final years Ibrahimovic is willing to settle a little bit for the system he’s playing in if it means returning to the league he loves more than anything. Juventus, unlike the other two clubs, offer him a chance of immediate success in both the league and Europe.