Sunderland have seen plenty of players come and go from the Wearside club over the years during several transfer windows.
However, as has happened with many clubs, they don’t always end up securing every player that they get linked with.
One prime example of a player that the Black Cats were looking to sign and will now be having nightmares over is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
According to the Sunderland Echo, the striker “was a target of Peter Reid during his formulative years at Ajax.”
However, a deal for the Sweden international “couldn’t be sealed” before he eventually joined Juventus in August 2004.
Throughout an impressive and very long career, Ibrahimovic has played for clubs such as Malmo, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona and LA Galaxy.
With a total of 811 club appearances under his belt, the 40-year-old has scored 492 goals, provided 201 assists and won numerous team titles and individual awards, highlighting just how much of an icon he is.
On the international stage, Ibrahimovic has been a vital figure for his country by scoring 62 goals in 121 appearances.
This season has seen the veteran score eight goals and provide two assists in 19 Serie A appearances for Milan, showing that despite his advanced age, he still has the knack for finding the back of the net in one of Europe’s top divisions.
Labelled as an “unstoppable” player by Gianfranco Zola, as well as having the “technique of Lionel Messi, the character of Muhammad Ali, and the strength of Mike Tyson,” by Mino Raiola, Ibrahimovic could have been an incredible asset for Sunderland had they been able to strike a deal for him all those years ago.
With the benefit of hindsight, securing a deal for the centre-forward should have been a top priority for the Wearside club, no matter what the cost implications would have been.
While there would have been no guarantee over how long he would have been at Sunderland had they been able to sign him, it still would have been a great sight for the fans to see such an exciting and talented goalscorer in their squad.