How Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly joined Arsenal
Swede turned down Premiership glory for, er, Eredivisie glory
Today, Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic finds himself with one of the biggest salaries in professional football, paid by the leaders of Serie A.
However, as a humble nineteen year old at Malmo (the football team, not the range of low cost flat pack furniture), the striker came very close to joining Professor Wenger at Arsenal. Back then, of course, The Gunners were busy winning league trophies, rather than “aiming for third place” (Anelka’s words, not ours).
Ibrahimovic told Eurosport why he chose Ajax instead:
“When I was in Malmo there was someone who invited me to Arsenal to see Mr Wenger.
“And I went there, I saw Patrick Vieira and the other big players who were there and when I met Wenger we spoke a little bit.
“Then I also had Monaco, Ajax and Roma who contacted me. But in the end Ajax were keener. I think it was a better solution for me even if Wenger is doing fantastic job with the young guys.”
Most budding strikers would have found Arsenal to be the better option, but we’re inclined to agree that he made the wise choice in going Dutch. In matches against English opposition, Ibrahimovic is almost always ineffective, perhaps suggesting an incompatibility with Premier League football.