Everton’s financial troubles have put them on the lookout for potential bargain signings this summer – and in the near future too with Pedrinho and Guus Til having been linked with free transfers to Goodison Park due to the foreign players in the recently opened Ukraine and Russia transfer window.
One player though that could have joined the Toffees on a free transfer a few years ago was legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who came close to joining Carlo Ancelotti at the club.
According to the Telegraph in December 2019, the 40-year-old – who is still worth £3.6m according to Transfermarkt, was “interested” in a move to Merseyside to play in blue, but the move never materialised.
Instead, the Swede moved from LA Galaxy just a couple weeks later on a free transfer to Italian giants AC Milan for his second stint there, scoring 36 goals in all competitions since.
While the Premier League is arguably a more difficult league to score in than the Italian Serie A, Ibrahimovic, who has proclaimed himself a “lion“, was a success in the English top flight, scoring 17 goals in 33 games for Manchester United, as well as netting a total of 29 in all competitions.
If his age was a concern at the time, it is clear that Marcel Brands made a misjudgement on the longevity of the striker’s career. This season, the titan who Mino Raiola said has “the strength of Mike Tyson” has still managed eight league goals for Milan, despite having started just 11 times – with the club leading the Serie A standings.
Once upon a time a Malmo youth academy prospect, the forward is still as active as ever – ranking in the top 7% among strikers in Europe’s top five leagues and continental competitions for shots per 90 (3.84), top 9% for shot creating actions per 90 (3.48), as well as top 5% for touches in the attacking penalty area per 90 (7.56).
With the club currently fighting in a relegation battle, a leader with a wealth of experience like the £175k-per-week Ibrahimovic would have not only been crucial in steering the club away from the drop – but it would have also been unlikely they would be in the situation in the first place due to his elite serial-winning mentality.