Galaxy declines comment on record contract offer for Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Galaxy declined to comment Wednesday on a report that it has made a contract offer to Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Times reported last week that a high-ranking team official had confirmed the Galaxy made an MLS-record offer to a top European player, with Ibrahimovic and Bayer Leverkusen’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez the likely targets. On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl advanced that story, writing that the Galaxy have extended a designated-player offer to Ibrahimovic that would make him the highest-paid player in league history.
Because Ibrahimovic remains under contract with Manchester United through May, the Galaxy said it was unable to discuss any offer publicly, with one official texting “we can’t comment at this time.” But the team did not deny the report, which said Ibrahimovic could join the Galaxy on a free transfer this summer.
Ibrahimovic is reportedly earning $1.46 million a month at Manchester United; only two Galaxy players will make that much for the season. Orlando City’s Kaka is currently the highest-paid player in MLS history, earning $7.168 million a year.
Ibrahimovic has long expressed an interest in MLS, and the Galaxy tried to sign him last spring before he left French club Paris Saint-Germaine on a free transfer for Manchester United. And he’s played well in his first season in the English Premier League, scoring 26 times in all competition.
United has repeatedly said it wants to exercise a contract option and bring Ibrahimovic back for next season, when he’ll be 36. And the Swedish star has said he wants to return. But his agent, Mino Raiola, is demanding a two-year deal, too long for the team’s liking. As a result, Raiola said he has not ruled out a summer exit for his client.
Viewed in that light, Ibrahimovic’s renewed interest in the Galaxy could be little more than a ploy in his negotiations with Manchester United.
A deal with Ibrahimovic would also mark a change of direction for the Galaxy. The team finished last season with two 36-year-old DPs – Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard – on the bench. Neither player was resigned.
The team then spent much of the offseason preaching a new model of team-building focused on academy products and younger, less-expensive DPs such as Romain Alessandrini, whom the team signed in January to a three-year deal worth approximately $5.5 million.
But the team has repeatedly insisted it not cost-cutting and has money to spend should a high-profile player such as Ibrahimovic become available.
“We have the [roster] slot. We have the resources,” said Dan Beckerman, the president and CEO of AEG, the sports and entertainment conglomerate that owns the Galaxy.
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