Mailbag: Ok... We'll talk about Zlatan

Well one deadline has passed with very little movement and so our eyes are cast to the next one this summer. Of course since we're looking at the summer window, that also means that it's time to discuss rumors of Zlatan Ibrahimovic which have existed pretty consistently for the last three years or so. This summer, we're hearing a lot more specifics and that's got a lot of people understandably excited. So, here are Zlatan answers as well as a few other questions. 

So we got a these and a few other questions about Zlatan, and we’re just going to boil them all into one all-encompassing “HOW ZLATAN WHY WHAT?” question:

Ok. Let’s get into it. How could the Los Angeles Galaxy possibly fit Zlatan Ibrahimovic on their already packed roster? It probably won’t be easy but there are certainly ways to get it done.

They could move one of their DPs.

Right now LA currently have Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, and Giovani dos Santos on the books as DP contracts. Of these three, Stevie’s the obvious choice to be cut, but he’ll also be the hardest to move. It wouldn’t be impossible, but I can’t imagine too many other teams in the league that would want to pick him up at a salary that he’s nowhere near currently worth. Well. Maybe NYCFC. Furthermore, there’s a somewhat sticky situation involving Nigel de Jong being awarded a Designated Player contract if he plays in a certain number of matches this season, but that’s next year’s problem. Maybe Keane retires and Ibra's sent out on loan until then. We really don't have any idea what this negotiation might entail. 

TAM?

Nah. It’s not very likely that TAM could be used to buy down any of these DP contracts as all of these players make a significant amount of money. Depending on how much Zlatan would ask in compensation, I suppose it could be possible to finagle a half-year salary down, but that would still be a lot of TAM.

The league will make up a new rule that would allow the Galaxy to acquire Zlatan.

Impossible is nothing. It would really only likely be necessary if Zlatan were going to join up this season. The rule would basically have to be an additional DP slot. It would be a little bit sketchy if this is the first that everybody is hearing about it but make no mistake, MLS would love to have Zlatan in the league and they’d be well within their rights to do whatever it takes to get him here.  Or, there could be another huge TAM injection. Or ZAM. Yeah I like ZAM. Zlatan Allocation Money. Zlatan would like that. Either way, this wouldn't be anything new or surprising. High tides make all the boats rise right? 

How much would his salary be?

A lot. He made 20 million dollars last year. Zlatan doesn’t seem like a huge pay-cut kind of guy even if he is approaching the twilight of his career. He probably won’t command 20 million dollars and there could be some big image rights deal/perks situation built in like with the Beckham deal but it would require a significant financial investment from the league and whatever club he ends up at.

What are the chances of this happening?

It seems pretty unlikely given all of the logistical hurdles that would have to be dealt with in order to make it happen. Nonetheless, MLS has always reserved the right to MLS and they’ll glady MLS if it means getting Zlatan stateside. I've been the guy to call these kind of moves impossible and say they aren't going to happen before. I'm not going to do that this time. 

-Ian L. 

Would the Red Bulls sign another Marquez or Rost? Or a Henry, Cahill, Wright-Phillips, Reyna, or Angel?

None of these, I would suppose. Although, the league does need a proper pantomime villain. Another Marquez wouldn’t be that bad, right?

A change has definitely occurred in New York/New Jersey. Veron, as in the 26 year-old Argentinian winger, seems to be more of New York’s flavor at the moment. He follows players like Fabian Castillo as a new wave of young designated players gracing MLS. Furthermore the RBNY imperial office has even gone so far as to publicly state that they would pursue players similar to Veron in age.

Ali Curtis, sporting director at RBNY, alluded to a new DP focus upon the purchase of Veron, stating, “Not only are we getting a player who can help us immediately, he is someone who fits well into our long-term plans for our club.”

It’s clear they intend on looking at long-term solutions rather than reactionary, big-name signings. The tendency, at least as things trend for the Red Bulls, would be to get a young, upcoming striker or center back, given the lack of depth in both places. A never-ending injury crisis among RBNY’s center backs forced the move for Aurelien Collin within the past month. Furthermore, they also don’t have many solutions for forwards off the bench (God forbid Wright-Phillips comes down with an injury).

Big signing? No. John Terry? No (he was just offered a new one year contract at Chelsea earlier today). Unless they’re about to splurge on Zlatan, the best bet is that they bring in another Veron. That methodology you’ve mentioned, or at least the change in methodology, is spot-on.

For one, it’s more sustainable, and paired with the growth in academy products entering the fold in MLS, the entire league, and RBNY, can rid themselves of an upstate retirement soccer community.

- Cory J. 

The trade deadline was all about Kamara. Obviously, Columbus traded Kei to New England, but DC also signed a Kamara. DC United signed Sierra Leone international Alhaji Kamara from Swedish side IFK Norrköping. The 22 year old comes to DC having scored 21 goals in 48 games, but having contributed 7 goals in 15 apperances in 2015."

-Mark K

I'll be completely honest with you, based on how the Union have been playing so far this season, I'm not sure they need much strengthening, for a couple of reasons.

Through 9 games so far, they're tied with TFC for the best points per game in the Eastern Conference. The fact that the East is fairly weak and taking into consideration their most recent draw against the Galaxy who have been steamrolling most teams so far, I don't think Philly needs to worry about strengthening. Definitely not through a trade at least. The team is producing and there's a solid chemistry forming within the squad; there's no need to risk compromising that.

So trades are out of the question at this point. Which brings me to my second point: the whiteboard discovery list. I'm sure you've seen or heard of it by now. If you have, then you'll undoubtedly agree with me that Union management have some pretty lofty signing goals, namely Zlatan Ibrahimovic and John Terry. Let's be real for a minute. Zlatan's not going to take his talents to Pennsylvania and close out his career in Chester. It's just not going to happen. Also, with news coming out that Chelsea have offered John Terry a 1 year extension, he's likely out of the question as well.

If it was big names you might've been hoping for, it doesn't seem likely, at least not for this summer, which should both not surprise you nor should it hurt the Union. You can be happy though! The Union are playing well and if they can keep getting results, they won't need a big name or any reinforcements to challenge for the playoffs and beyond. 

-Rob Ditta