Zlatan Ibrahimovic has reportedly been an MLS transfer target for years, but his future is in doubt after he suffered a serious knee injury in Manchester United’s Europa League quarterfinal victory over Belgian side Anderlecht at Old Trafford on Thursday.
According to multiple reports, the Swedish striker – who was apparently quite close to joining the LA Galaxy last year before signing with the Red Devils – tore both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL) in his right knee as he landed on the turf following an aerial challenge.
It was one of two feared ligament injuries for United in that game, as defender Marcos Rojo also reportedly tore his ACL against Anderlecht.
“I don't think they are easy injuries, but I prefer to wait for all the tests to be done tomorrow,” said MUFC manager Jose Mourinho postgame. “I want to wait. My feeling is not great for both. I want to be optimistic, but I'm not. … I can't say any more than that, I am not a doctor.”
Ibrahimovic, who has scored 28 goals in 46 appearances for United since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, is unlikely to play again in 2017 and if both ligaments are torn as is being reported, could be sidelined a full year.
He signed a one-year contract with MUFC on his arrival; ESPN FC cited Mourinho as saying that Ibrahimovic has reached the performance-based milestones that would activate a one-year option in the deal, but the flamboyant veteran had not yet committed to another season in the English Premier League and it’s uncertain whether his club is required to extend the option at this stage.
A year ago “Ibra” was widely linked to an MLS move – along with options at Manchester United and in China – as he departed PSG after four dominant years at the French side. At one point Sky Italia journalist Alessandro Alciato even tweeted that Ibra was “90 percent” likely to join up with the Galaxy.
Around the same time, ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle and Doug McIntyre reported that Ibrahimovic was in discussions to play in MLS. Galaxy president Chris Klein declined to comment on Ibrahimovic when contacted by ESPN, but one source told Carlisle and McIntyre that if he reached an agreement with MLS, his destination would be the Galaxy.
The striker has also been linked to the Philadelphia Union, Orlando City and 2018 expansion side LAFC, and reports of a hefty contract offer from MLS swirled as recently as Thursday.