Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s long talks with AC Milan this fall never came close to getting the Italian team a new player. But it has gotten Ibrahimovic a new contract, one that will make him a designated player, paving the way for a substantial raise.
Days after AC Milan sporting director Leonardo said talks with his club regarding a winter loan had come to an end, an MLS source confirmed Tuesday that Ibrahimovic has a new deal with the league. The Galaxy declined comment but an official announcement is expected next week.
December is turning out to be a busy month for the Galaxy. Although it has long been known that Dennis Te Kloese, a former Chivas USA executive, will be the team’s new general manager, the Galaxy didn’t publicly announce his hiring until Tuesday. The team is also very close to concluding negotiations to make former Portland Timbers manager Caleb Porter its new coach and has been linked to former Galaxy midfielder Juninho about a return to Carson.
Talks with Porter and Juninho have been ongoing for weeks.
More moves will have to take place before Ibrahimovic can sign his deal since the Galaxy already have their full allotment of three DPs in Romain Alessandrini and brothers Gio and Jonathan dos Santos. But MLS owners are meeting Wednesday and the Board of Governors meets Thursday amid rumors that changes to the league’s salary structure are being discussed.
Ibrahimovic, who reportedly made more than $25 million a season in Europe, joined the Galaxy in March after signing a two-year deal that paid him $1.5 million for 2018. A year earlier the Galaxy had offered him a contract that would have paid him the highest salary in MLS history — more than $7.1 million a season — but that deal was pulled after Ibrahimovic suffered a gruesome knee injury playing for Manchester United.
It has long been assumed that Ibrahimovic’s contract included a verbal understanding the team would find a way to get him a raise for 2019 and the very public talks with Milan were likely part of a strategy to keep pressure on the Galaxy to do just that.