Los Angeles Galaxy have refused to deny they are in talks to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic, amid reports they have offered a contract to the 35-year-old. The former Sweden captain is reportedly close to re-joining Manchester United following his rapid recovery from a knee injury but that move could be derailed by the Major League Soccer franchise.
The Mirror understand Galaxy have offered Ibrahimovic £6m ($7.77m) a year to move to the MLS, where he would become the league's top-paid player. Ibrahimovic held talks with his agent on Wednesday (12 July) and said afterwards a "very big announcement" potentially regarding his future would be forthcoming.
That announcement was originally thought to relate to a return to United, who released Ibrahimovic after rejecting the chance to activate a 12-month extension to his one-year deal at Old Trafford. The former Barcelona and Juventus forward has been recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in April, which was expected to keep him out for the rest of the year, at the club's Carrington training ground.
Reports had suggested United's medical team were "amazed" at his progress and that the club were ready to offer a short-term deal to the Swede, which could start as early as October. However, Galaxy's rumoured interest has seemingly put the breaks on any deal – but head coach Curt Onalfo has refused to substantiate the speculation.
"Our policy is not to comment on players that are not part of our team," Onalfo said, according to Sky Sports. "Absolutely (we have room for a marquee player). We always have. The DNA of the Galaxy is to attract world-class players, so we're always looking for one."
A deal to bring Ibrahimovic to California is, however ,fraught with problems, as Galaxy have already filled their the 'designated player' berths in their squad for the 2017 season. MLS clubs are allowed a maximum of three players whose wages exceed the club's salary cap, but those positions are currently occupied by Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos and Jelle van Damme.
The five-time MLS Cup winners may be forced to downgrade Ibrahimovic's basic wage to ensure he can be added to their squad during the second transfer window of the year, which runs from 10 July-9 August. A number of incentivised payments can they be attached to ensure Ibrahimovic earns the £6m-a-season Galaxy are currently proposing.
During his only season with United, according to Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football, Ibrahimovic earned a basic wage of £367,640-per-week and was also entitled to a goal bonus worth £2.86m. The full fee paid by Jose Mourinho's side paid totalled £19.11m.
Earlier this year, Ibrahimovic came out on top of a poll of 140 MLS players over which player they would like to see move to the league. The striker scooped 22% of the vote ahead of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.