Sport Soccer

Thursday 26 April 2018

Ibrahimovic to leave United and join LA Galaxy

The former Sweden striker has made just seven appearances this season.

Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to join the LA Galaxy (Martin Rickett/PA)
Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to join the LA Galaxy (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to leave Manchester United and join the LA Galaxy, Press Association Sport understands.

The 36-year-old was released last summer after a fine first season at Old Trafford ended in a serious knee injury.

The Swede was rewarded with a contract until the end of the 2017-18 season in August last year, but is now preparing to leave after managing just seven appearances this term, a knee issue having halted his comeback.

Press Association Sport understands Ibrahimovic is now set to sign for Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, with confirmation possible as early as Friday.

Ibrahimovic returned for United in November after recovering from surgery to repair his ruptured cruciate ligament.

But his last game was on Boxing Day, when he was substituted at half-time of the 2-2 draw at home to Burnley, and, although earlier this month he said he was targeting the Champions League last-16 second leg tie with Sevilla, he did not make the matchday 18.

The arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January and the form of Romelu Lukaku have made it even less likely for Ibrahimovic to regain his place and, with question marks over his fitness and his contract ticking down, the time appears right for a move.

Manager Jose Mourinho began to pave the way for an exit when he said in January he would not stand in the former Sweden international’s way if he wanted to leave Old Trafford.

Earlier this month the United boss admitted he expected the striker to leave at the end of the season.

Ibrahimovic, who scored 29 goals in 53 matches for United, would be the latest big-name signing for the Galaxy following the likes of former United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham and ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

However, MLS has moved away from signing ageing players in recent years.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic will follow in the footsteps of the likes of David Beckham (PA)

Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move from United to the Chicago Fire last March was the exception rather the rule, with the 12 designated players brought from outside MLS for the 2018 season having an average age of 23.16 years old.

However, Ibrahimovic’s talent and standing in the game has proved understandably attractive for the Galaxy.

The most successful team in MLS history need a statement signing after a poor campaign and the arrival of Los Angeles Football Club.

The new kids of the block have won the first two matches in MLS, with coach Bob Bradley and the likes of Carlos Vela being embraced by the LA football community.

Press Association

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