Editorial (April 1, 2017) – It’s been awhile since the Zlatan Ibrahimovic to LA Galaxy rumors got on the hype train. While this could be the biggest signing for the club and MLS since David Beckham, there are some hurdles to jump through. As of now, I don’t see Zlatan coming to MLS in 2017. Let’s break this Zlatan to LA Galaxy rumor down.
Some Thoughts On Zlatan To LA Galaxy Rumors
Zlatan came to Manchester United this season on a one year contract. Prior to signing the deal, he was rumored to be in talks to come to MLS. The consensus was that those talks were with the Galaxy. His contract with United runs out this summer. With the Galaxy opening up a DP slot this summer, they could potentially sign him. Rumors are they made an MLS record contract offer to him earlier this year.
Results at Manchester United And A Bidding War:
The Galaxy can’t really afford to get into a bidding war for Zlatan with Manchester United, let alone another big European club. As much as the Galaxy have been the big money super club of MLS, they aren’t on the level of Champions League clubs. There are EPL stars making more than entire MLS rosters combined.
It’s seems pretty clear as of now that if Man United qualifies for Champions League next season that Zlatan will stay. It’s the only major European club trophy he hasn’t won (along with a Premier League trophy). United are currently battling for fourth in the league. They’re also in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League. That gives them two ways to qualify for the UCL.
Even if they don’t qualify, United might still try to bring him back. Even with an MLS record offer, the Galaxy probably lose a bidding war for Zlatan to a big European club. It seems the Galaxy’s best chance of landing Zlatan is him wanting to come to America over staying in Europe. That all but requires Man United missing out on Champions League.
Star Power vs. Ego Concerns:
I have no doubt that Zlatan would be a great player on the field in MLS. He brings the star power and presence as great as any in league history. He could put up numbers on the level of Sebastian Giovinco.
That said, this is a guy who’s referred to himself in the third person in press conferences. He once said (albeit jokingly) that he’d stay at Paris Saint Germain if they built him a statue taller than the Eiffel Tower. He’s got his own version of Google, as egotistical as that sounds.
I think Bruce Arena with all his experience with the Beckham experiment could have maneuvered Zlatan coming. But Curt Onalfo has enough on his hands right now. For these big European stars, their appeal to LA was always the life style, winning, and what they heard about Arena as a coach. Zlatan won’t give Onalfo nearly the same respect. That could become a very volatile locker room. Considering how much the front office has put into Onalfo being the guy for Galaxy youth movement, losing him to a locker room blow up would be a huge set back. It could also set a dangerous president for Zlatan having way more say in the club’s decisions than is healthy.
Zlatan brings a lot of star power, but also a huge risk with his sense of self worth.
Potentially Saving The Season:
With all the recent injuries in the attack, the Galaxy’s season looks very uncertain. There’s a real possibility that they miss the playoffs this season. We’ve seen super stars resurrect teams before. Giovinco single-handedly got Toronto FC to the playoffs two years ago. Robbie Keane has dragged LA out of a slump kicking and screaming.
If the season goes south, the front office could try to make some moves to save the season. This could involve some inter-league trades. It could involve another TAM level signing. It most certainly would involve DP splash. If Man United fails to qualify for Champions League and the Galaxy aren’t in a good place, we could see Zlatan to LA Galaxy become a reality. He certainly has the skill and aura to save the season should it come to that.