AC Milan will arrive in Barcelona tomorrow with two aims in mind: to perform well against Barcelona in a final tuneup for the season in the Gamper Trophy and to land a world class striker.
The latter will be the primary objective. As has been reported over the past 24 hours, Milan are very interested in Barcelona's Swedish striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Reports have revealed that Ibrahimovic, 28, and Milan have agreed to personal terms regarding a return to the San Siro, where he spent three years with Inter Milan before his monstrous move to Barcelona last summer.
Ibra has scored 22 times in 42 appearances for the Catalans, but was left out of the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup, despite scoring in the first leg, a 3-1 loss to Sevilla, before Barcelona won the second leg 4-0 to lift the cup.
"It was a sporting decision," Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola said following the second leg, "as was the case with the other players who didn't play."
With this apparent denial of a move, along with the declarations of Ibrahimovic's agent Mino Raiola that no deal will happen, it appears as if Milan face a major roadblock.
"I believe it's an impossible operation," Raiola told Sky Italia. "Barcelona have made us understand that they don't want to sell. I have spoken with the club and Guardiola doesn't want to sell him."
Despite these claims, Milan vice president Adriano Galliani remains confident that a deal is possible.
"The deal for Ibrahimovic is officially open," Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport. "On Wednesday, I will meet Barcelona's president Sandro Rosell. It will be difficult and we have not yet spoken of the economic aspect."
It is likely that the only way the deal could be done is as a loan. Another possibility is to include a player in the deal, most likely Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has been rumored to be heading away from Milan for some time.
"We don't know," Galliani told ANSA when asked about the idea of adding a player. "It's a deal which is all still to do. We haven't assumed anything. The deal is yet to be built."
Whatever direction the deal takes the two clubs in, it seems apparent that Milan are facing an uphill battle. Given the funds, it may be difficult to find a level ground with the Catalan giants over the future of Ibrahimovic.