Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Juventus from Ajax in 2004 and went on to score 23 goals in 70 appearances for the Old Lady. Ibrahimovic was part of the star studded cast that left Juventus after the club was relegated to Serie B following Calciopoli scandal in 2006. Since leaving Juventus, Ibrahimovic has played for Inter, Barcelona and Milan, winning league titles in every club. He joined Paris St. Germain along with AC Milan team-mate Thiago Silva at the start of 2012/13 season for an initial fee of €20 million.
“Ibra is an extraordinary player. He is a true champion. Sure, I’d love to [be his Coach]. There few players as decisive as he is in world football.” – Antonio Conte to Aftonblader.
Mino Raiola, Ibrahimovic’s agent can be a crucial factor in this transfer, if it indeed happens. Raiola was close to the Juventus regime before Calciopoli but fell out with the new regime post the scandal. The Italian super-agent has recently repaired his relationship with Juventus and played an important role in the transfer of French sensation Paul Pogba from Manchester United to the Juventus stadium. Pavel Nedved, another of Raiola’s former clients is part of the Juventus board as well.
However, there are a number of stumbling blocks which may make this transfer a pipe-dream. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is currently the second highest salaried player in the world, after Samuel Eto’o. He earns a massive €14 million in PSG. Juventus, on the other hand, have been extremely diligent in controlling their wage bill and are unlikely to pay him anything close to even half his current salary. To put things into perspective – the sum total of salaries current Juventus midfield – Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal, one of the Europe’s best, is near about what Ibrahimovic makes in PSG.
Secondly, he is on a three year contract in PSG and the club is unlikely to release him for cheap which will make Juve’s task all the more difficult. Ibrahimovic is Paris St. Germain’s top scorer in the league and has most assists in UCL, so it is highly unlikely that PSG will let him go for anything less than €25 million.
“I won’t hide the fact that I like Ibrahimovic. I consider him to be one of the three best players in the world, at the levels of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He can change a team for the better. Who wouldn’t want him? I’d like him for sure.” – Pavel Nedved to Undici.
Ibra’s playing style is also likely to cause a tactical imbalance in current Juventus system. He has always excelled when he is used as the focal point of a team’s offence but Conte’s system does not depend on such a focal point. More importantly, with Juventus having secured Fernando Llorente’s signature it will be even more unlikely for the club to spend heavily on a striker who has similar attributes. Ibrahimovic has run in problems with some of his coaches in past – a fact that Conte, who prefers running a tightly knit unit, will be wary about.
In the end, regardless of the quotes given by Nedved and Conte, it looks very unlikely that Juventus will even try to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic.