Zlatan Ibrahimovic Enhanced Odds

Most football fans in the UK would have looked forward to a time when the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to play in the Premier League. The Swedish international striker had been an established player in the Netherlands before gracing the top leagues in Spain, Italy and France so he only really had one more country to conquer.

Manchester United were the lucky club to land Zlatan’s signature and it proved to be a fruitful deal for both parties. The veteran helped to bring the first piece of Silverware to Old Trafford for Jose Mourinho in the shape of the EFL Cup and he became a vital player over one memorable season.

After a brief return from injury in 2017/18 however, Zlatan moved on once again, this time to the MLS and LA Galaxy. The enhanced odds offers from the bookmakers will undoubtedly slow down but it’s still worth looking over the career of such a great player.

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Club Career

Ibrahimovic

Zlatan started his professional career with Malmo but really made his name during a three year spell with Ajax from 2001 to 2004. His scoring ratio in the Erevidisie alerted clubs around Europe and the striker set out on a much travelled path that eventually brought him to Manchester United.

Along the way, the Swede performed for Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, and AC Milan before a settled period of sorts saw Ibrahimovic play for three years in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain. That proved to be his most prolific period with a goal scoring ratio approaching one every game but the Swede had one major test left before he called time on his career.

In the summer of 2016, Ibra left Paris for Old Trafford on a one year contract with a view to extending that if he proved his worth at Manchester United. There was a brief extension, following a long term injury but for now, Zlatan looks likely to end his career in America having switched to LA Galaxy of the MLS.

International Career

Zlatan’s scoring record at international level could perhaps be considered as even more remarkable considering that Sweden were rarely challenging for major honours. They were a difficult team to beat but didn’t feature highly in FIFA rankings so his overall return of 62 goals in 116 matches is quite incredible.

He made his debut in 2001 and played on until 2016 but has now retired from international football as he looks to prolong his career on the domestic stage.

Recent Scoring Record

This is how Zlatan has performed in front of goal over the course of the last few seasons:

SeasonLigue 1, PL, MLSFrench CupChampions League
2017/180 goals in 5 matches1 goals in 1 matches0 goals in 1 matches
2016/1717 goals in 28 matches5 goals in 6 matches5 goals in 11 matches
2015/1638 goals in 31 matches7 goals in 6 matches5 goals in 10 matches
2014/1519 goals in 24 matches4 goals in 3 matches2 goals in 6 matches
2013/1426 goals in 33 matches3 goals in 2 matches10 goals in 8 matches

The striker’s stats show that he seems to be getting better with age and he continued that fine run in France during his spell at Old Trafford. His two goals in the EFL Cup Final against Southampton at Wembley brought his overall total to 26 in 38 matches and that’s the sort of return that will make a player a prime target for price boosts.

Two very different offers were issued for Zlatan ahead of that game and they may be typical of what we could expect for the remainder of the striker’s career.

SportNation issued a new customer deal that promised 50/1 on United to win and Ibrahimovic to score in 90 minutes while SkyBet lifted the odds from 5/1 to 7/1 for all customers if the player scored with his head.

Both of those outcomes actually came in and either would have delivered a very nice profit for some lucky punters. We saw more of these deals for the big matches while bookies like Winner Sports and SkyBet may well list Ibrahimovic price boosts for regular Premier League fixtures.

Now that he is in the MLS, the new customer offers will tail off but look out for those regular price boosts for existing players as they should continue to be published.

The Future

Far from winding down his career in the MLS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gone from strength to strength in America and there is talk of one last hurrah in a top European league. He’s reached the age of 38 now but his goal scoring exploits Stateside mean that there is no shortage of admirers.

Where will Zlatan go next? This is what the bookies make of it all.

Front Runners

In interviews, Zlatan has hinted at a return to Spain where he previously played for two years at Barcelona. The favourites to sign the Swede during the January transfer window are Atletico Madrid and this option can be backed at 11/4 with Ladbrokes. The same bookmaker follows up with Real Madrid at an industry best of 5/1 while Valencia come in at 7/1 – also with Ladbrokes.

From that point, the market starts to move out with a number of other Spanish sides quoted plus a brief look at Brazil, England and Italy. These could be less plausible options but it’s certainly worth looking at some of the longer prices.

Outside Punts

Among the remaining options on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future is the option to stay at LA Galaxy for another season at least. The bookies aren’t too confident about this punt but Unibet go as short as 6/1. Alternatively, if you think that Zlatan will be without a club after the January transfer window, the best odds stand at 10/1 and that’s with Unibet once again.

Elsewhere, former clubs feature in this market. A switch to Manchester United can be picked up at a top price of 16/1 with Ladbrokes while a return to his first team – Malmo – is on offer at 12/1 with Ladbrokes once again.

What about a return to Barcelona? The striker wasn’t that happy during his time at the Nou Camp but some will be interested in Ladbrokes’ best industry odds of 20/1.

Verdict

As the 2019 MLS campaign drew to a close, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had enjoyed a prolific spell with LA Galaxy. In two seasons with the club, the Swede had hammered in no fewer than 53 goals in 58 matches and it’s no great surprise that he’s being tipped for one last big move.

Cynics would say that it’s far easier to find the net in Major League Soccer and they may have a point. Other players who have been mediocre in their domestic leagues have moved to the US and returned far healthier striking returns but this is no ordinary player. He may be 38 but that’s a stunning record so why wouldn’t a big European club take a chance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

We suspect the bookies have called this correctly in terms of the shorter priced clubs and the one option that takes our eye is that of Real Madrid. If there has been one disappointment in his career, it’s the spell at Barcelona where Zlatan felt frozen out following the emergence of Lionel Messi.

We suspect that Ibrahimovic has unfinished business as far as La Liga is concerned and a switch to Barca’s big rivals Real Madrid would help to put things right.

Update (19/12/2019):

On 27 November 2019, it was made public that Zlatan Ibrahimovic bought 23.5 % of the shares in the Swedish club Hammarby IF from Anschutz Entertainment Group (the owner of LA Galaxy).

Update (02/01/2020):

AC Milan has officially announced that the Swedish player will return to his former team. Earlier, Ibrahimovic appeared on 85 matches at AC Milan, scoring 56 goals, achieving a Serie-A championship and an Italian supercup title, becoming top goal scorer in his second season. It was speculated that Zlatan would join Napoli, Bologna, or even Everton, but he will arrive to Milan on January 2.

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