If Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to add to his ever-expanding haul of league titles, it appears increasingly likely that he will have to do so by conquering the Premier League.
Rumours that the eccentric Swedish striker will bring his talents to England this summer rumbled on over the Easter weekend. The story’s latest turn came from his homeland, where journalist Olof Lundh suggested that Paris Saint-Germain’s main man would prefer to live in London.
If that’s the case, then Chelsea really must do everything in their power to land the 34-year-old.
2015/16 has been a struggle for the outgoing Premier League champions, with their usual dominance on the domestic scene replaced by managerial upheaval and a decline in their stars’ performances.
At his ripe-old age, Ibrahimovic wouldn’t be a solution to rebuild the club’s fortunes long term. Instead his arrival would be an instantaneous shot in the arm, a strategy that has been a preferred method for the Londoners under Roman Abramovich’s ownership.
Aside from a CV dripping with winners’ medals and a star-quality that would ensure Chelsea were never out of the nation’s attention, Zlatan would be a genuine on-field upgrade for the Blues’ squad.
Despite his advancing years, the former Barcelona and Inter Milan star has been using Ligue 1 as his personal play toy this season.
In basic terms he is leading the way in both goals scored, with 27, and assists, in which he shares top spot with Angel Di Maria, on 11.
However, he also takes more shots per 90 minutes than any other player in the league that has made 15 appearances or more. From that same sample size, he sits second in assists-per-90 too.
Comparing those numbers to the Chelsea squad this term shows just how much of an improvement the Swede would make in west London.
Zlatan’s 5.2-shots-per-90 dwarfs those of Diego Costa and Oscar – the gold standard in that department for the Blues – who both register 2.7.
In terms of bringing his teammates into play, Ibra far outperforms the west Londoners again. His 0.5 assist-per-90 rate would sit some way clear at the top of Chelsea’s pack, where four players currently share the honour with a mark of 0.2.
During a struggling season it’s fair to assume the numbers at Stamford Bridge have sagged. Yet it’s intriguing that even comparing 15/16 Zlatan to Chelsea’s title winning squad of last year, he still emerges favourably.
Loic Remy’s four-shots-per-90 led the Blues that season, which still can’t come close to Zlatan’s 5.2, while Cesc Fabregas registered 0.6 assists-per-90, only a minor improvement on the Swede’s current 0.5 clip.
So, if it’s a pick-me-up purchase that can help launch the club back towards the sharp end of the league that Chelsea want, few would be better than the PSG striker.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.