Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to conquer us. Sorry, Zlatan wants to conquer the U.S. When asked in an interview with Aftonbladet about a future move to MLS, Zlatan stated that it was a “huge option” for him. He went on to explain the following, as only Zlatan could get away with:
“I can see myself conquering the US as I have with Europe. Lots of people stay in one place throughout their career, but I’ve traveled around like Napoleon, and conquered every new country where I’ve sat foot. So perhaps I should do what Napoleon didn’t and cross the Atlantic and conquer the States as well.”
Ibrahimovic has been linked to MLS moves in the past, before signing a deal with Manchester United before this season, and rumors will certainly start again. His current contract with the club is for one year, with options based on performance (Manchester United has picked up this option, see update below). The 35 year old striker has produced at a typical-Zlatan level, with 6 goals in 11 Premier League appearances, but Manchester United currently finds themselves 6th on the table.
Assuming Zlatan wants to cross the Atlantic, a move to Minnesota United makes a surprising amount of sense.
1) Zlatan could be the entire team.
Zlatan is not short on confidence (the man’s favorite word might be “Zlatan”), and nowhere can he prove himself and his determination to conquer our continent quite like being the only member of the team. Yes, Minnesota United recently signed Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas, but as of today they remain the only members of the team. They will make for good subs if Zlatan needs a rest. You read that right, the best option for Minnesota United is to play Zlatan, and Zlatan alone. He makes £200,000 a week at Manchester United, and the only way Minnesota United can afford a contract like that is if he is the only player on the pitch. Heck, a head coach hasn’t been officially announced yet, so they could have him do that too! If Zlatan can excel as the only player on the team, there is no way that anyone could possibly doubt his prowess.
2) Back to Scandinavian roots.
Zlatan is arguably the best Swedish player ever. He is Sweden’s top goalscorer, with 62 career goals, and has won 11 Guldbollen titles (given to the Swedish player of the year). No other player has won the award more than twice. It was announced this week that a statue in his honor will be erected in Stockholm. A move to Minnesota makes sense, considering Minnesota has the highest Swedish-American population in the states (according to the 2000 Census).
In fact, Swedish Americans make up 10% of the Minnesota population. Minnesotans are a hard-working, humble group that will have no problem connecting to a man who compared himself to Napoleon (or considered himself a god). MN United’s Sporting Director, Manny Lagos, made a scouting trip to Scandinavia earlier in the fall, but maybe MN United just needs Scandinavians to come to them.
3) It wouldn’t be that big of a change from Manchester United.
Manchester United. Minnesota United.
Zlatan (and Zlatan fans) wouldn’t even have to learn the full name of his next team. If you say ManU quick enough if sounds like MNU. Both Manchester United and Minnesota United have devoted fan bases that have been disappointed in recent results by the team. Minneapolis and Manchester aren’t that different either, both having a twin city (St. Paul and Salford, respectively), a river running through them (Mississippi and Irwell, respectively), a history of industry and abysmal weather. Zlatan admitted, upon joining Manchester United, that he left a much better team (Paris St-Germain) to go there, and considered them underdogs this year. I challenge you to find bigger underdogs than MN United, who some have speculated may have the worst season in MLS history.
Would Zlatan make a good fit here? Probably not. Would Zlatan want to come here? Definitely not. Is it fun to think about anyway? 100% yes.
Manchester United picked up the option for a second year of Zlatan, so we will have to wait until after 2018 to see if Zlatan comes to conquer the U.S.
Let us know below if there are any reasons Zlatan to MN United seems inevitable that we overlooked.