Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has revealed that the club are in negotiations to sign Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The arrival of David Villa at Camp Nou has led to speculation that Ibrahimovic would be surplus to requirements at Camp Nou and the striker was left out of the Barcelona team that defeated Sevilla 4-0 at the weekend to claim the Spanish Super Cup.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola said following the Sevilla game: “It was a sporting decision, as was the case with the other players who didn’t play.”
Ibrahimovic’s agent said earlier on Monday that a move to Milan would be an “impossible operation”, but Galliani has suggested otherwise and says he has arranged a meeting with the Barcelona board.
“The deal for Ibrahimovic is officially open,” Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport. “On Wednesday I will meet Barcelona’s president Sandro Rosell. It will be difficult and we have not yet spoken of the economic aspect.”
It is expected that any deal will be a loan move rather than a permanent signing, given that just 12 months ago Barcelona paid Inter £40 million and gave them Samuel Eto’o in part exchange when signing the Sweden international. His buyout clause is set at an astonishing £216 million.
Prior to Galliani’s remarks, Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola appeared to rule out a move to San Siro for the 28-year-old.
“I believe it’s an impossible operation,” Raiola told Sky Italia. “Barcelona have made us understand that they don’t want to sell. I have spoken with the club and Guardiola doesn’t want to sell him.
“We are honoured by Milan’s interest and that of many other clubs who want Zlatan. It makes us very happy to know that Berlusconi and Galliani respect him. But we need to see the reality and Zlatan in red and black is an impossible operation.
“I exclude it [a loan move]. He is not the kind of player who goes out on loan, but I exclude almost categorically that Ibrahimovic will leave Barcelona. Many teams want him and expect that he will be sold, but right now it’s not like this. The coach commands and will absolutely not sell him.
“Zlatan is used to fighting for his place, there are no problems. Guardiola bought him a year ago for €70 million. He believes in him and won’t let him leave after 12 months. He remains Barcelona’s first striker.
“He is 99.9% staying in Catalonia. I don’t hide the fact that he doesn’t like being out of the team, then again we’ll see what happens on September 1. But I repeat, Guardiola has decided not to sell him. But like Galliani said, we can dream!”