May 26, 2013, 6:12 PM EDT
Carlo Ancelotti’s departure from Paris Saint-Germain may be all but inevitable, but as we’ve previously discussed, PSG’s reluctance to let their head coach go may be more about containing damage than forcing hands. Were Ancelotti to leave for Real Madrid without an appropriate transition in place, the Parisians would risk derailing their project as the squad’s high-priced talents consider moves away from France.
Such is the in-between state of French soccer. Under-appreciated and under-watched, there’s still the perception that Ligue 1 is the fifth of five big leagues, a difficult proposition to reconcile if you watch both the French and Italian leagues. Each circuit has its charms and its limitations, but with the regression of Serie A combined with on-and-off the field improvements in Paris, Lille, and (to a possible expired extent) Montpellier, the differences between the league’s are more difficult to detect on the field. Still, for many players, Serie A is a more desirable destination, as is the Premier League, La Liga, and the German Bundesliga.
Take, for example, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he of the league-leading 30 goals in 34 Ligue 1 appearances. The big Swede was convinced to switch from Milan to Paris thanks to a huge wage package, the chance to be part of PSG’s emerging project, and the presence of a Serie A legend: Ancelotti. In one season at the Parc de Princes, he’s led the club to a league title and the quarterfinals of Champions League while being France’s best player.
But if Ancelotti leaves, Sky Italia reports, Ibrahimovic wants to go, too. At least, that’s what one reporter is relaying tonight:
Boom! Ibrahimovic has asked PSG to leave if Ancelotti goes, according to Sky Italy—
Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 26, 2013
Just like PSG’s big denial of Real Madrid seemed like posturing toward another end, Ibrahimovic’s could be the same. This could be about making sure PSG hires a coach to his liking, getting some role in that process, or perhaps just getting a little something tacked onto his contract. When you have an agent as astute as Mino Raiola, any opening can be exploited to any end.
That end could, however, be a move, transfer potential that leaves very few viable destinations. Real Madrid is an obvious one, as the Spanish titans would be able to afford his wages, offer him Champions League soccer, and give him a chance to play in a major league. Chelsea would also make sense, as would Manchester City, though the citizens are said to be less than interested (perhaps because of the Barcelona influences in their front office).
Those are some of the few clubs could afford Ibrahimovic, though it’s hard to discount a move back to one of the Milanese clubs, something that would require Ibrahimovic leave money on the table. At 31 years old and with a family that loves Milan, don’t count out a return to AC Milan or Internazionale, even if that would require one of those clubs to drastically alter their plans to bring their former number nine back home.
Also, don’t forget this could all be bunk, that people could be speaking out of turn (which has happened before around Ibrahimovic), and he’s perfectly fine with his deal in Paris. Sky Italia, however, is reporting otherwise.
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