Zlatan Ibrahimović Isn’t Coming to Tottenham

MALMO, SWEDEN - MAY 30: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden during the international friendly match between Sweden and Slovenia on May 30, 2016 in Malmo, Sweden. (Photo by Lars Dareberg/Ombrello/Getty Images)
MALMO, SWEDEN - MAY 30: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden during the international friendly match between Sweden and Slovenia on May 30, 2016 in Malmo, Sweden. (Photo by Lars Dareberg/Ombrello/Getty Images) /

Should some recent speculation be believed, Zlatan Ibrahimović could end up at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane next season.

Ever since Ibrahimović announced that he would be leaving Paris Saint Germain at the conclusion of this season, the footballing rumor mills have been ablaze with possible destinations for the Swedish international.

The majority of such talk has centered around Manchester United, where the powers that be appear willing to welcome new manager José Mourinho with one of the best players in world football.

And there’s no question that that’s exactly what Ibrahimović is. He’s won league titles in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy (with three different teams) and France. Despite turning 34 years old last October, he still managed to score 38 goals for PSG — 17 more than the next closest competition.

Critics might say that 38 goals scored in France’s Ligue 1 doesn’t necessarily require the same amount of talent as scoring as many in one of Europe’s bigger leages. No one expects Ibrahimović to be capable of such a tally were he to move to the Premier League, with the possible exception of the player himself.

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All of which means that whichever club convinces Ibrahimović to sign on the dotted line will be getting quite a player. And, like any great player, the Swedes’ services come at a significant cost, one high enough to more or less preclude Tottenham’s interest.

While Ibrahimović’s free agent status means that there would not be any exorbitant transfer fee involved, the player himself is thought to be expecting somewhere in the area of £220,000 a week for his services. That would put up into the stratosphere in terms of pay in the Premier League, already the highest paying league in the world.

That’s a figure that should end any conversation about Ibrahimović joining Tottenham before it even begins. Though such figures aren’t exactly public, the best guesses say that the highest paid Tottenham player is Hugo Lloris at about £100,000 a week, with most of the club’s best younger players still making relatively low salaries what with still being on their first contract.

Bringing in Ibrahimović would then mean spending roughly the equivalent of half a dozen other players on a weekly basis. Considering the player’s age and the fact that he hasn’t played anywhere close to the Premier League level since leaving AC Milan in 2012, that’s a huge commitment to make.

It’s put into even harsher contrast when you take into account the fact that Tottenham will likely be giving improved deals to some of the club’s most important players over the next year. It’s hard to come up with an argument that that £220,000 would not be better spent lining the pockets of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen.

There’s calculus out there that might make a move for Ibrahimović make sense. Even if he’s not able to play up to the level of his weekly pay, there’s no doubting that Tottenham would enjoy a huge status boost.

There are plenty of people out there who don’t know anything about football, but still know who Zlatan Ibrahimović is. It would be a huge boon for Tottenham to hitch their star to the big Swede. Shirt sales alone would ease a lot of the burden of that hefty salary.

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Given what we’ve seen so far during Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at Tottenham, a move like this does not appear likely. He and chairman Daniel Levy are much more interested in finding the undervalued players who can fit in Tottenham’s overall system. Adding big names for the sake of adding big names just doesn’t seem part of the club’s DNA at this point.