Napoli's Aurelio De Laurentiis: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Transfer 'Depends on Him'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2019

SANDY, UT - SEPTEMBER 25 :  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of the LA Galaxy celebrates scoring a goal against Real Salt Lake during their game at Rio Tinto Stadium September 25, 2019 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed the club are interested in signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Los Angeles Galaxy.

The veteran forward's deal with the Major League Soccer side will expire when the campaign ends in November, prompting speculation about where the Swede will move next.

A return to Europe has been mooted, with Serie A giants Napoli mentioned frequently. Speaking about a possible deal, De Laurentiis said conversations have been ongoing, although the final decision would ultimately rest with Ibrahimovic, per Sky Sport Italia (h/t Joe Wright of Goal):

"[Ibrahimovic] is a friend. I met him in Los Angeles not as a footballer but as a normal person because we were in the same hotel.

"I invited him over for dinner with his wife and kids and we had an amazing time. It would be my wish to see him in Napoli colours. It's more than a suggestion and it depends on him. It's been talked about for a few months now."

Ibrahimovic has enjoyed another prosperous campaign in MLS, helping the Galaxy make it to the post-season play-offs.

On Sunday, they beat Minnesota United to keep their MLS Cup hopes alive. On Thursday night, they will meet city rivals Los Angeles FC in what promises to be an absorbing game and potentially Ibrahimovic's last as a Galaxy player.

Since arriving at the club, not only has Ibrahimovic been a consistent goalscorer, he's developed into a leader for the team. That much was evident when he rallied his team-mates following the victory in Minnesota:

LA Galaxy @LAGalaxy

“This is only the beginning. We don’t stop for nobody. We continue like this. We destroy everybody.” - @Ibra_official https://t.co/u3GWKkLaq5

Ibrahimovic has already spoken about the possibility of joining the Neapolitan outfit and believes the Partenopei fans would flock to see him in action:

Goal @goal

Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Napoli? 🤯 🗣 "With me, the San Paolo would be full every Sunday. "I am not saying that I will go there, the final decision will depend on various aspects, but that is an idea that creates enthusiasm." https://t.co/1o4zmeHlrS

In the United States, the goalscoring instinct Ibrahimovic was renowned for during his time in Europe has still been present. Per Squawka Football, his haul of 30 goals in MLS in 2019 has only been bettered twice in the league's history:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Only three players have scored 30+ goals in a single MLS season: • 2019: Carlos Vela (34) • 2018: Josef Martínez (31) • 2019: Zlatan Ibrahimović (30) Carlos Vela makes MLS history. 🇲🇽

Napoli do have options in attack already, with Arkadiusz Milik and Fernando Llorente adept at leading the line. Dries Mertens has also previously excelled as a centre-forward, while Hirving Lozano and Lorenzo Insigne have been used as part of a front two by Ancelotti as well.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.