Zlatan Ibrahimovic's move to LA Galaxy to be announced on Friday

Simon Peach 22/03/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to leave Man United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to leave Manchester United and join the LA Galaxy, it is understood.

The 36-year-old was released last summer after a fine first season at Old Trafford ended in a serious knee injury.

The Swede was rewarded with a contract until the end of the 2017-18 season in August last year, but is now preparing to leave after managing just seven appearances this term, a knee issue having halted his comeback.

Ibrahimovic is now set to sign for Major League soccer’s LA Galaxy, with confirmation possible as early as Friday. He returned for United in November after recovering from surgery to repair his ruptured cruciate ligament.

But his last game was on Boxing Day, when he was substituted at half-time of the 2-2 draw at home to Burnley, and, although earlier this month he said he was targeting the Champions League last-16 second leg tie with Sevilla, he did not make the matchday 18.

The arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January and the form of Romelu Lukaku have made it even less likely for Ibrahimovic to regain his place and, with question marks over his fitness and his contract ticking down, the time appears right for a move.

Manager Jose Mourinho began to pave the way for an exit when he said in January he would not stand in the former Sweden international’s way if he wanted to leave Old Trafford.

Earlier this month the United boss admitted he expected the striker to leave at the end of the season.

Ibrahimovic, who scored 29 goals in 53 matches for United, would be the latest big-name signing for the Galaxy following the likes of former United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham and ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

However, MLS has moved away from signing ageing players in recent years.

Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move from United to the Chicago Fire last March was the exception rather the rule, with the 12 designated players brought from outside MLS for the 2018 season having an average age of 23.16 years old.

However, Ibrahimovic’s talent and standing in the game has proved understandably attractive for the Galaxy.

The most successful team in MLS history need a statement signing after a poor campaign and the arrival of Los Angeles football Club.

The new kids of the block have won the first two matches in MLS, with coach Bob Bradley and the likes of Carlos Vela being embraced by the LA football community.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

Most popular

The Chelsea model will win with Antonio Conte, and win without him

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte during Monday's embarrassment at Watford.

It is now, surely, a matter of time before ruthless Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich makes Antonio Conte the eighth permanent head coach dismissed during his transformational near 15-year stint on the King’s Road.

That is what a 4-1 defeat at Watford during a ‘must-win game’ will do to your job prospects.

Thanks for the 2016/17 Premier League title, but arrivederci. Can the revolving door please stop to let ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique embark.

As ever when the time for a purge at Stamford Bridge arrives, institutional impatience gets blamed. Yet unalloyed acceptance of this reality underpins their success.

Chelsea’s model exhibits a long-term commitment to short-term cycles.

Their triumphs make a mockery of the trope that continuity is key. They win with Conte – and win without him.

Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas-Boas are just some of the luminaries who can attest to this.

The Abramovich style has more in common with the managerial shark tank of Serie A’s middle ranks than it does the old-boys network found in many Premier League boardrooms. The scales are just different.

Sir Alex Ferguson witnessed 10 different incumbents, permanent or temporary, on the Chelsea bench from Abramovich’s takeover in June 2003 until he called time on his epoch-defining, 26-year spell in charge of Manchester United in May 2013. The comparative major trophy haul between the clubs throughout this spell stood at United 11-11 Chelsea.

Vastly contrasting approaches, but the same end result.

Chelsea’s cold-blooded adherence to their principles sets them apart. It takes a unique club to sack Mourinho twice.

Too many sides in England vacillate between future desires and an immediate pursuit of results – see United’s fumbles in the post-Ferguson vacuum.

The traditional role of manager does not exist at Stamford Bridge. Neither does the job title.

Head coaches are anathema to the traditional British school. They are intrinsic to Chelsea.

Roman Abramovich (c) in happier times at Chelsea.

Roman Abramovich (c) in happier times at Chelsea.

Interchangeable figures man the training pitch, plan out tactics and select the match-day squad. They have input to recruitment, but overall responsibility falls to someone else – in recent years technical director Michael Emenalo, now director and Abramovich-acolyte Marina Granovskaia.

The emasculation of the manager figure has increased since powers were devolved to Mourinho, with mixed results, upon his return from 2013-15. During this spell, supreme talents such as Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku were sold for figures way below their current market values.

Granovskaia, who is officially “mainly responsible for player transactions”, is entrusted to guarantee this will not reoccur.

Despite his protestations, Conte must have been aware of this reality. It was no secret that he tore himself away from Juventus – the club of his heart – in 2014 because of terminal disagreements about transfer policy.

Both he and Chelsea will have thrashed out the rules upon his hiring. Or the contract extension that followed last July.

As with any model, it is not without its hitches. No matter how fluid.

Chelsea are the Premier League’s second-biggest spenders behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City since the Spaniard’s arrival in 2016. Comparative – and approximate – net spends of £88.8 million (Dh455.3m) to £342.7m (Dh1.8 billion), however, speak volumes of where the clubs are currently at.

A new bully is in town.

Then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein vividly claimed less than two months after Abramovich’s entrance that he had “parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”. But with a costly divorce and £1bn (Dh5.1bn) development of a new Stamford Bridge to pay for, ammunition is in shorter supply these days.

Conte’s recent gripes about recruitment also ring true. Midfielder Ross Barkley appears damaged goods, while United seem to have the better end of the Lukaku-Alvaro Morata and Nemanja Matic-Tiemoue Bakayoko transfers.

A leaner Chelsea have to fight smarter to usurp the division’s current top two.

Recent history shows they will keep faith in their core strategy, refine it and ultimately conquer. Whoever is in the dugout to oversee this is almost incidental.

Most popular

Top 10 Instagram posts of Euro 2016

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Top 10: The most poppular Euro 2016 posts

Apart from being one of the elite international tournaments in sport, Euro 2016 was a social media sensation this summer.

It was one of the most talked about sporting events ever, with 195 million Facebook users having 950 million likes, comments or posts from June 10 to July 10.

Meanwhile, throughout the tournament in France, 61 million people on Instagram had 476 million likes, comments or posts.

Here, we look at the 10 most popular posts from Euro 2016.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL) – 2.1M LIKES

🙏

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

GARETH BALE (WALES) – 920K LIKES

WOW! 👀

A photo posted by Gareth Bale (@garethbale11) on

PAUL POGBA (FRANCE)- 506K LIKES

MESUT OZIL (GERMANY) – 488K LIKES

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (POLAND) – 309K LIKES

WAYNE ROONEY (ENGLAND) – 181K LIKES

😀

A photo posted by Wayne Rooney (@waynerooney) on

MARC BATRA (SPAIN) – 170K LIKES

LEONARDO BONUCCI (ITALY) – 98K LIKES

KEVIN DE BRUYNE (BELGIUM) – 90.1K LIKES

My biggest supporter 😍. He gives me my power

A photo posted by Kevin De Bruyne (@kevindebruyne) on

XHERDAN SHAQIRI (SWITZERLAND) – 75.7K LIKES

Most popular