Paris Saint-Germain superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic has reportedly "privately identified" Arsenal as a club he would consider joining if he were to move to the Premier League this summer.
The Telegraph's Jason Burt reported on Thursday that the north London club could be a possible destination for the Sweden striker, whose deal at the Parc des Princes is set to expire at the end of this season.
Burt added Ibrahimovic's preferred option is to pen a new 12-month deal with PSG and remain with the Ligue 1 champions until at least 2017. If that doesn't happen, the forward would likely have his pick of transfer options in the months to come.
Arsenal would need to fight off competition from some of Europe's leading powerhouses if they're to win the race for Ibrahimovic, especially if the player is available on a free transfer as expected.
Among those reportedly in the hunt to acquire the player is one of his former clubs, Serie A outfit AC Milan. Italian daily Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia) reported Ibrahimovic's wife favours a move back to Italy. Per the report, Ibrahimovic said: “My family will decide.”
However, at 34 years of age, the veteran frontman would be a short-term investment, and given his age, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger may prefer to purchase a player with more sell-on value.
Ibrahimovic scored the second goal in PSG's 2-1 Champions League triumph at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as his side knocked Chelsea out of the round of 16 with a 4-2 aggregate win.
Live Goals provided footage of the goal that helped send the reigning Premier League champions out of Europe, showing Ibrahimovic can cut it against England's biggest outfits:
It would be somewhat poetic if Ibrahimovic did spend some of his latter years at the Emirates Stadium after it emerged the hitman turned down the offer of a trial with the north London giants in 2000.
Ibrahimovic spoke to the Sun in 2012 and detailed his prospective move to England's capital from hometown club Malmo 16 years ago (h/t MailOnline):
Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey—the No 9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it and I was so pleased I even posed for a picture wearing it. It was a fantastic moment for me. Arsenal had a great team then and here was an Arsenal shirt made just for me.
So then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal. But he didn't even try. He never actually made me a serious offer, it was more, 'I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial.' I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'No way, Zlatan doesn't do auditions.' I thought 'You either know me or you don't and if you don't know me you can't really want me.'
Ibrahimovic went on to join Eredivisie titans Ajax in a £5.5 million move before going on to conquer the top leagues in Italy, Spain and France with the likes of Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and PSG respectively.
Arsenal may not be the only Premier League side looking to bring Ibrahimovic to England for the first time in his career, though. Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News highlighted Manchester United represent a good move for all parties:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
If #mufc want to become a winning side again, Ibrahimovic and Mourinho would be the perfect partnership https://t.co/OeurKqCNCJ3/10/2016, 12:16:23 PM
Wenger has reverted to using France international Olivier Giroud as his first-choice frontman this season after experimenting with winger Theo Walcott in the role earlier this term.
That being said, Ibrahimovic would bring a much more refined and classier approach to the position than either of those players, but Wenger would again face a challenge in convincing the Swede to join.
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