Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to come to the Premier League, and here's why
Congratulations on your 13th national league title! It really is an extraordinary record and we're all very impressed. But, to be honest with you, we're more impressed that you've already seemingly decided to walk away at the end of the season.
It takes a brave man to turn his back on what appears to be a cast-iron guarantee of success. I mean, is it even plausible that PSG won't win the title next year? I'm not saying the French league is a little unbalanced, but you do realise that you and your teammates could have slept in for the first eight games, hauled yourself out of bed on Oct. 4 and you'd still be a point clear at the top of the table?
I'm telling you what you already know. You've said you'll walk away and that it's time for a new challenge. Zlatan, that challenge is the Premier League. You've nailed Holland, Italy, Spain and France. Don't you want to come give England a crack?
Now I understand that you will not be short of offers, but hear me out. You really should be here, where the world is watching. You should be in England, where the hyperbole is freshened hourly and the hysteria never stops. You, with the strength of a lion, the agility of a ninja and the temperament of Mariah Carey. We need you not just for your talents, but so you can constantly refer to yourself in the third person, park your sports car wherever you like and stare in utter disdain at any Muggle footballers who have the temerity to foul you.
The Premier League needs you, Zlatan. The great houses have fallen and our land has been ravaged by change. Arsenal have melted in the bright lights again. Chelsea are a mid-table side now. Manchester City don't seem to be at all interested in winning the Premier League. Liverpool have been disassembled and are in pieces on Jurgen Klopp's workbench. Have you watched Manchester United recently? No, I don't blame you.
Leicester City are the big boys now, which will surprise you, as I'd imagine you've never actually heard of them. Tottenham are second. You might recall that they knocked your AC Milan side out of the Champions League in 2011 before opting to focus on the Europa League for a few years. What I'm trying to say is that, well, this league is wide open now. You can bring that medal tally up to 14.
We haven't had anyone like you since Cristiano Ronaldo left. Sergio Aguero is probably the best footballer here but he's really nice and modest and no fun at all. Wayne Rooney once referred to himself as "the big man" but he's so slow now, he's more like 'the old man." The most egocentric thing the Arsenal players do is take loads of selfies approximately seven days before a catastrophic defeat. It's not really good enough. This is supposed to be the biggest league in the world.
I realise that even someone as confident and assured as you might have doubts. After all, England has not been kind to you in the past. For several years it was assumed that you were a fraud on the admittedly flimsy basis that your worthiness must be assessed purely from your visits here in the Champions League, and that anything you did on the continent couldn't possibly count. We really are very sorry about that.
My worry is that you'll opt for something just as unchallenging as the French league but under the guise of "experiencing new cultures." That you might be lured over to China as the real flagship of their sudden expansion. Or that you'll cross the Atlantic to be the "Designated Zlatan" in MLS. That would be sad. Both are noble ventures replete with opportunity, but I implore you to reject their overtures.
Where should Zlatan go next?
Just give us one year and then explore new frontiers. You're only 34 and your game was never about pace anyway. It was about being Zlatan. You can be Zlatan in England. There isn't a club in their right mind that would turn you away.
Go to Liverpool and play for Klopp as you once suggested you would. Go to Manchester United and give the fans (and players) a reason to stay awake past half time. Go to Arsenal and show them what belief and character looks like. Heck, you can go to Sunderland, if you like. Those supporters deserve some sort of reward for their patience. Just make sure you come to the Premier League.
This is your time. This is Zlatan time. England expects.
Iain Macintosh covers the Premier League and Champions League for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @IainMacintosh.