The French newspaper Le Parisien was the first to broach the subject recently that Paris Saint Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had enough of Ligue 1 and that he wants to return to Italy.
Ibra has carried PSG on his back for most of the season, and he has not being amused with the attitude of the PSG fan who have taken to whistling and booing the team recently.
That has set off Ibrahimovic who fired back:
“They are asking a lot. Isn’t that funny when you think about where they were in the past? Before this they didn’t really have much at all…”
But it is not the fans that will drive the striker out of Paris. It is more simple that than. According to various French and Italian media reports, Ibrahimovic wife hasn’t settled in Paris and she would like to return to Italy.
But the Bianconeri cannot afford him, and Juve has the money and the need for a top striker like Ibrahimovic.
Antonio Conte, when interviewed some time ago by the prestigious Aftonbladet tv in Sweden, said:
“Zlatan is a fantastic player. He can make the balance of a team positive.”
When he played for AC Milan he scored regularly and set up goals for many of the midfielders like Nocerino (whose goalscoring went to double figures) and Boateng. He would fit perfectly into the “Conte system”, where there are quite a few midfielders with a taste for goal already.
Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has confirmed that the Serie A Champions-elect have “talked” to PSG about Ibrahimovic saying:
“Without doubt he is a champion, but at this moment Italian clubs cannot sign players who earn such high wages. We appreciate him a great deal, who wouldn’t like a player like him? However, it is not possible.”
The issue is of course money. The striker makes about €12ma season, almost double Juve’s wage cap of €7m.
So Ibra would have to take a substantial paycut to his base wages, but I am sure that Juve could put together a deal that included substantial bonuses tied into the teams success that could allow Ibra to make in Turin what he was making in Paris.
Why would PSG want to see Ibra? Because they have their sights set on Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
The fallout from Sir Alex Ferguson benching Rooney for the crucial Real Madrid 2nd leg continues behind the scenes, and Rooney’s advisors know that United will not sell Rooney to another Premier League side.
Paris is only a short train ride from London, making it the closest destination for the Rooney clan. Plus it looks like PSG will are going to bring David Beckham next season, giving Rooney a familiar face in a foreign dressing room.
If Ibrahimovic moves to Juventus and Rooney to PSG, those moves will then set in motion other moves.
The big move that has been whispered for months is Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United. Ronaldo feels that he has been underappreciated by Real Madrid and their fans, and was genuinely touched by the reception he got from the Man United fans during their Champions League matches. With Mourinho leaving in the summer, Ronaldo is said to be seriously considering moving back to Old Trafford.
That would please United sponsors GM and Nike who want Ronaldo to be the worldwide face of their brands, and there is a lot of chatter about them helping to pay part of Ronaldo’s wages at Old Trafford.
If Ronaldo goes to Manchester, then Real Madrid will use some of that transfer fee to sign Gareth Bale from Spurs. The Spanish newspapers, especially MARCA,have be beating the drums about Bale for months now.
Ronaldo’s favorite position at Real Madrid in on the left, which is where Bale plays and he would be a younger, cheaper, alternative for Ronaldo,
Finally, Juventus have long been linked with Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetić. If they sign Ibra they will not need Jovetić which will allow him to make the move to Arsenal, where the Gunners have been following him for months.
A lot of moving parts to this story, but the key is the move of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from PSG to Turin. If that happens, it will free up several other big name moves this summer.