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Galaxy face hurdles in attempt to sign Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Paris Saint Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring a second penalty kick during a match on Oct. 4, 2015.

(Ian Langsdon / EPA)

The Galaxy, already full of stars, may be close to landing another with ESPN confirming rumors Friday that the Major League Soccer team is in negotiations with Swedish international player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic said Friday that he would not be returning to the French club Paris-Saint Germain after leading it to four consecutive Ligue 1 titles. Sky Italia said that decision would open the way for a free transfer to MLS and, in particular, the Galaxy.

Galaxy President Chris Klein refused to comment Thursday evening when asked by The Times if the team was in discussions with Ibrahimovic or his representatives. But ESPN said “multiple sources” told it that talks between the sides were taking place with one person saying, “I think it’s going to happen.”

The ESPN report did not identify its sources.

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The Galaxy would have to negotiate several obstacles to sign  Ibrahimovic. The team is already maxed out on designated players with three, meaning it cannot sign another player for a salary above the MLS maximum of $457,5000.

Ibrahimovic made $37 million last season.

But the Galaxy could have two DP slots open up this winter when the contracts of Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane expire. Gerrard’s spot is expected to go to midfielder Nigel de Jong, whose current contract includes a trigger that gives him a two-year $6-million extension if he appears in 23 games this season.

Ibrahimovic, who has played in five European leagues, has hinted that he would be open to a short-term contract in the English Premier League. Such a deal would allow the Galaxy to bridge the gap between the summer and the start of the 2017 MLS season.

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Ibrahimovic, who had 49 goals and 16 assists in all competitions for PSG this season, has long talked of playing in the U.S. And with his 35th birthday coming up this fall, it may be time to make the move.

“The U.S. is one of his ultimate goals,” said Christophe Couvrat, a French journalist based in California. “He loves L.A. [But] China offered him a lot of money. So [did] Manchester United.”


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