West Ham United should cave to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's £600,000-a-week wage demands and outmuscle Arsenal in pursuit of the Sweden international, according to former Hammer Dean Ashton. Ibrahimovic is poised to leave Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer at the end of the season with a number of clubs competing to land the 34-year-old.
The Daily Mail understand that the Gunners are ready to offer a financial package to Ibrahimovic which will blow their rivals out of the water in the summer transfer window. In a separate report, the same publication understand the former Juventus and Barcelona striker wants close to £2.5m per month from his next club.
Such demands are likely to price several big-name European clubs out of signing Ibrahimovic, but Ashton says West Ham should last the course and complete a deal for the forward ahead of Arsenal. Should Slaven Bilic's team qualify for the Champions League then a package, which includes playing at the Olympic Stadium, could be tempting according to the former England international.
"Any team that makes the Champions League suddenly has doors opened and the chance to attract big names, and the attraction of playing in a new stadium as well would pull players in," he told 888Sport. "I'm pretty sure every West Ham fan would love to see Ibrahimovic come to the Olympic Stadium.
"I know there have been rumours, and what a signing he would be. He brings experience and flair, and he's the type of player West Ham fans love who can produce something from nothing. He would be incredible.
"Of course money is a factor with his age but it's not as if you buy Ibrahimovic and he's going to flop. He's just not that type of player. He has already shown he doesn't need lightning pace, he can just drop back and lead the play and he still scores so many goals."
With the season expected to end in disappointment and without a major trophy, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is likely to come under pressure to make a big-name signing in the summer. Ashton says there are no guarantees over the Frenchman's plans, particularly after only signing one outfield player across the last two window.
"You literally don't know with Arsenal and Arsene Wenger," he added. "He could be linked with all these names again and nothing will happen, then he'll say he's keeping [Danny] Welbeck, [Olivier] Giroud and with [Alex] Iwobi coming through now he'll say that's enough. I personally think they do need to go out and get a [Gonzalo] Higuain or a [Edinson] Cavani type of player who can really take them on to the next level."