Manchester United are reportedly preparing to launch a show-stopping £57 million bid for Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
That's according to Spanish outlet Don Balon (via Charles Perrin of Daily Express), which claimed United manager Louis van Gaal has met with the mercurial Swede's representatives to mull over a January move.
United have lacked a cutting edge up front this term, with captain Wayne Rooney failing to produce the goods in front of goal and 19-year-old Anthony Martial forced out to the wing to accommodate the misfiring Englishman.
With Ibrahimovic, though, United would have an out-and-out striker with a proven record on the biggest stages of them all and someone who could finally convince Van Gaal to deploy Rooney in a deeper role.
Former United midfielder Paul Scholes even called for United to sign the Sweden skipper at the start of the season, as he told BT Sport (via ESPN FC) United needed a centre-forward who scores goals—and he's been proved right:
I wonder if they could take a chance on Ibrahimovic for a year. Maybe he could do something in the Van Persie mould. I don't care whether he gets on with Van Gaal or not, as long as he scores goals. I don't think they need much else. They have good players on the bench, but they need a centre-forward.
However, while Ibrahimovic may think of himself as an immortal, the fact remains he only has a few years left at the top of the game.
The 34-year-old is approaching the winter of his career, so links to David Beckham's MLS franchise in Miami look all the more believable right now, per MailOnline Sport:
Still, if Van Gaal is on the hunt for Ibrahimovic, it'll cost him a pretty penny to prise the striker away from the French capital.
Perrin writes PSG are unlikely to accept any offers below £73 million, so United's astronomical planned bid is still a good £16 million off the mark.
Even Manchester United can't afford to part with that much cash for a player who only promises a few good seasons, so they may have to go shopping elsewhere. Still, the fact that Ibrahimovic is available on a free at the end of the year could prove music to Van Gaal's ears.
Martial's form since signing proves taking risks with young blood in the transfer market can pay off, and Van Gaal needs to focus on bringing a new wave of players to Old Trafford rather than making impulse purchases.