Zlatan Ibrahimovic will become a free agent at the end of December, and it’s reported that he could be set for a second spell with Milan.
According to The Telegraph, the 38-year-old has agreed a deal in principle with the Rossoneri, which could now see him return after his successful first stint with the club between 2010 and 2012.
During those two years, Ibrahimovic bagged 56 goals in 85 appearances, leading us to our last Serie A title in 2011. In turn, the majority of supporters will have fond memories of his time at San Siro and will remember how influential he was as our talisman during that period.
While there has been no official word from the club or Ibrahimovic as of yet, if Milan do swoop it should arguably be seen as a smart move to give us a huge boost from January onwards as we try to climb the table and put ourselves in contention to qualify for the Champions League.
Still capable of playing key role
Spells at Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy followed after he left us, and although a switch to MLS perhaps raises question marks over the level that he has been operating at in recent years, he still scored 53 goals in 58 games and showed enough to suggest that he’s still capable of performing at a high level.
While he’s naturally not the same player who left us as he enters the latter stages of his career, he showed in LA that he still has the physical presence up front to cause problems, while that flair, excitement and ability to create something out of nothing certainly hasn’t left him.
The expectation shouldn’t be that Ibrahimovic will come in and score goals for fun. However, despite his age, he’s still capable of adding real quality to our squad, especially with our current strikers struggling for goals and players around them lacking confidence to showcase their best.
The Swede has been through it all during his career from memorable highs to disappointing lows, and coupled with our young squad, the experience that he would bring to the group on and off the pitch could be priceless.
While the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alessio Romagnoli have now played countless games for us, it’s still early in their respective careers. In turn, Pepe Reina and Lucas Biglia are arguably the only real stalwarts left in the squad, and that’s not a healthy balance.
Ibrahimovic’s ability to draw on his experience to guide his teammates through difficult moments or to offer the right advice at the right time to react to adversity could make the small differences which result in a much bigger outcome.
Ability to help other players improve
Whether it’s offering advice to his teammates in the dressing room to help develop their game and gain confidence or barking out instructions on the pitch to help those around him shine, Ibrahimovic isn’t perhaps regarded as a natural leader by many, but he can certainly bring a sense of leadership to this team.
With that in mind, he’s also a player who can help others deal with criticism and scrutiny and take the pressure off their shoulders to see if that helps them find their top form.
Particularly at a time where Krzysztof Piatek is struggling and Rafael Leao isn’t firing, he could be the perfect foil when needed to make an impact and take the spotlight off them. Perhaps with less pressure, they will be in a better place mentally to find goals.
Gives everyone concerned a lift
It’s been a difficult season for Milan thus far, and it’s hoped that in the coming weeks we can cut the gap between us and fourth place to put ourselves in contention heading into the second half of the campaign after the winter break.
While this isn’t an Ibrahimovic at the peak of his powers, he’s still capable of making a decisive difference and coupled with his rapport with the fans from his first spell, it would be a signing that lifts the supporters and gives us added belief of reaching our objectives this season.
It remains to be seen if there will be multiple new arrivals in January or not, but Ibrahimovic will be a problem for opposition defences if he arrives, and it could be the boost Stefano Pioli, the squad and the fans need in the New Year to end our wait for Champions League football.
Had we swooped last season perhaps for a loan deal after the MLS campaign concluded, we could be back at Europe’s top table already.