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Aug, 25, 2010

Ibrahimovic will only join select trio - agent

Unsettled Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to leave Camp Nou and, according to his agent, there are only three clubs he would join: AC Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Raiola criticises Guardiola
• Galliani claims Ibrahimovic talks

The arrival of Spain international David Villa has knocked Ibrahimovic down the pecking order at Barcelona and the Sweden international has also had a reported bust-up with manager Pep Guardiola.

Ibrahimovic's agent, Mino Raiola, hinted at problems when he told El Mundo Deportivo: "He signed with FC Barcelona, not FC Guardiola. He signed him to play but then left him on the bench."

With the striker looking increasingly likely to be on the move, a number of clubs are on alert, but Raiola claims his client has a very select short-list of suitors.

"Nothing is settled yet. We will know the situation on September 1," Raiola told Swedish newspaper Expressen. "There are only three clubs that are capable of signing Ibra: AC Milan, Manchester City and Real Madrid. These clubs are the only ones who can afford to sign him, to pay him and attract him."

He added: "Zlatan will be the one who decides whether he leaves and where he will go."

Barca would be highly unlikely to sell to Real Madrid, and Jose Mourinho - who coached the player at Inter - has now said he believes the player would be better off at the San Siro.

"Zlatan is a great player, but he was happier in Italy than he is in Spain," he said. "If he joins Milan, he'll have a great season."

Manchester City are eager to sign up the striker, though, and El Mundo Deportivo reports that Ibrahimovic is still in contact with City boss Roberto Mancini, who also coached the striker at Inter.

Nonetheless, Milan appear to be favourites, and Rossoneri vice-president Adriano Galliani has vowed to remain in Catalonia until he can agree a deal. "If it's necessary, I'll stay here even until August 31," he said.

Guardiola has denied any knowledge of the negotiations, but Barca president Sandro Rosell confirmed talks would take place with Milan over the transfer. "Ibrahimovic? We'll talk about him with Milan tomorrow," he said.

Milan would like to negotiate a long-term loan deal involving Marco Borriello in exchange, but reports in Spain suggest Rosell will only accept a sale worth €40 million and Raiola added: "There'll be no loan, unless it's for four years."

Ibrahimovic joined Barca only last year in a deal that cost Barcelona €46 million and saw striker Samuel Eto'o head in the opposite direction. The 28-year-old has struggled to establish himself in his single season at Camp Nou but Barca will want to recoup as much money as possible.

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri is hoping to see the deal go through but does not feel it is essential. "Ibrahimovic is a champion," he said. "There is not a manager around who wouldn't want to coach him, but this is a group of lads and very important champions. It's normal that, if Ibrahimovic were to arrive, a part of the team would be reinforced, but the attack is already strong."

Ronaldinho, who made the move from Barca to Milan in 2008, told El Mundo Deportivo: "I don't know if Ibrahimovic will come to Milan to play with me and [Alexandre] Pato, but the idea of playing with one of the best strikers in the world is fascinating. If Ibrahimovic signed for Milan, it would be perfect."

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