Today is Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s big day. He’s leaving Sweden’s preparations for Euro 2016 and returning to Paris, where he’s set to launch his own clothing range. The launch today has been planned for some time, it will take place at 5pm CET via the A-Z Sportswear Facebook page.
Ibrahimovic has very much given the impression that he may also announce his new club today, but that could well be to increase publicity for the brand launch. If there hadn’t been the Manchester United circus around Ibrahimovic then there’d be far fewer people eager to watch him launch his own brand.
Whether Ibrahimovic announces a club or doesn’t announce a club, the publicity will still be huge, but it would surely surprise nobody if from this event there came little other than a hint at a future announcement.
On the flip side, even Ibrahimovic can’t keep stringing people along from press conference to press conference, and given he’s left the Sweden camp, it’d make some sense to complete his Manchester United move before he returns… otherwise it could all drag out until after Euro 2016.
French newspaper L’Equipe have an article in their Tuesday edition saying Ibrahimovic to Manchester United is waiting to be ‘formalised’, and they very much think he’s set to become a Manchester United player. There is a doubt planted about the length of contract, but it’s explained that’s because Ibrahimovic increasingly sees himself as managing soon and he may want to be Jose Mourinho’s assistant in a year. Quite what the long serving Rui Faria would make of that is unknown.
In Sweden there’s not a great deal of excitement. The Aftonbladet newspaper are keen on any story about Ibrahimovic and a week or so ago they couldn’t hide their excitement over a Manchester United move. They even sent someone to Old Trafford, but that turned sour when United fans in a pub told the newspaper they didn’t want Ibrahimovic anyway… and the club shop refused to print a shirt with his name on it.
Aftonbladet just don’t seem quite as excited as they have been, maybe that’s because they’ve become jaded at Ibrahimovic dragging everything out and building the hype. The newspaper have stories on people with Zlatan tattoos, the size of oysters Zlatan can eat at Euro 2016, Zlatan wanting to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the 18 key people in Zlatan’s entourage, and several other things… but no big ‘today Zlatan signs for Manchester United’.
Perhaps the reason is they believe that today will just be about the clothing brand. Their journalist Jennifer Wegerup explained that when Ibrahimovic said there’d be a ‘bomb’ of news, it wasn’t necessarily about his future in football: “It does not apply to a new club. Already this spring, Ibrahimovic told Dagens Industri (another Swedish media outlet) that the fashion brand “will hit like a bomb” and used this expression.”
Over to Zlatan.