Zlatan Ibrahimovic would prefer to to stay in Europe this season, LA Galaxy president Chris Klein says, though the MLS club still have an interest in signing him in the future.
The Galaxy this week completed the signing of Jonathan dos Santos as the club’s third designated player, a move that would rule out signing any more expensive star players while he, his brother Giovani dos Santos and French winger Romain Alessandrini are still with the club.
But asked about LA’s long-reported interest in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will be sidelined until the new year by a knee injury, Klein said the Galaxy’s “doors are open.”
“We have an incredible relationship with Zlatan and his agent. He loves our club, and he loves L.A.,” Klein said on Friday. “We have an interest in him. I think, for now, he wants to stay in Europe.
“Our doors are open for a player like that. We have rights to him in our league. We’ll see where that goes.”
Ibrahimovic, who scored 28 goals for Manchester United last season, is a free agent but is still using the Premier League club’s facilities in his rehabilitation from injury.
Coach Jose Mourinho said this week the only reason United bought Romelu Lukaku this summer was because they “can not allow ourselves to be without an important, strong striker for the first six months of the season” — suggesting he expected Ibrahimovic to sign a new deal in the winter.
Sources told ESPN FC in March that they Galaxy had made an offer for Ibrahimovic, but with his future still uncertain, Klein said the Galaxy plan to build around the three DPs they currently have.
“It gives us a core that we can build around, and it gives us tremendous flexibility as well,” Klein said. “We’re very happy with Jonathan, Giovani, and Romain. We feel like we can build pieces around them for a long time.
“There are a number of twists and turns and players to talk to some of the conversations are true and some are not true. Jonathan is a player that we have been after for a long time. We made an offer in January and the club decided to keep him. Fortunately for us, we’re excited to him.”
The Galaxy added Dos Santos on a transfer from Villarreal on Thursday, coincidentally finalising the long-gestating deal a few hours after firing coach Curt Onalfo and hiring Sigi Schmid.
— Curt Onalfo (@curtonalfo) July 29, 2017
“I came here because it’s a great opportunity for me to grow,” Dos Santos said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to play with my brother, and I’m happy to be able to play with him.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to play together and to make history in a team like the LA Galaxy. This is the best organization in Major League Soccer. My objective is to win titles and to be a figure for this team and the league.”
The Galaxy have been pursuing Jonathan ever since they acquired Giovani, even making a bid that was rejected by Villarreal in January. LA finally reached a deal that included a raise for the younger brother, although Jonathan said money wasn’t a factor in his decision.
“This league is growing a lot,” Dos Santos said. “There’s a lot of great players already here, and I want that competition to continue. To be here doesn’t mean that my level of play will decrease. I’ll continue to work hard and grow as a player.”
The Galaxy have won just six of their first 20 games, but Onalfo released a statement about his firing on Twitter on Friday night, claiming he was “sometimes very unfair scrutiny” despite having so many injured and unavailable players.
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