Leeds United held talks with veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic regarding a move to Elland Road in January, says their chairman Andrea Radrizzani.
The Whites were on the hunt for a new front man to provide competition to Patrick Bamford following Eddie Nketiah’s early departure and aid their push for promotion to the Premier League.
A number of forwards were linked, including the likes of Southampton’s Che Adams and Watford’s Andre Gray, but the Italian has now revealed that both Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani were both targets for the West Yorkshire club and that he even got as far as talking to the former before he sealed a return to AC Milan.
Speaking to reporter Gianluca Di Marzio, as reported on Sky Sports, Radrizzani said: “I spoke with Zlatan Ibrahimovic more concretely.
“He could have given us that decisive push but he decided to go to AC Milan. He has been very honest and transparent with me.
“We need to be rational and coherent with the strategy of both coach and team. I did not even speak with (coach) Marcelo Bielsa about Cavani and Ibrahimovic because we never got to the stage that we could sit down and talk about them.”
It would have been a statement signing from Leeds had it happened, with the 38-year-old likely to have made quite the impact in the second tier of English football.
However, the former Ajax, Barcelona and Manchester United man made the decision to move back to AC, who he previously played for between 2010 and 2012, and scored three times in eight Serie A appearances after signing from LA Galaxy.
Leeds went on to seal a deal for Kevin-Jean Augustin from RB Leipzig, but he was not able to make much of an impact before football was halted due to the coronavirus.
The Frenchman has featured just three times for Marcelo Bielsa’s side thus far, playing only 48 minutes overall, due to fitness concerns and a hamstring injury and is yet to to score his first goal for the club.
His slow start to life with United hasn’t harmed their form, though, with Leeds currently sat top of the Championship after a run of five consecutive wins, putting them in a strong position to finally return to the Premier League after a 16 year absence.
Meanwhile, Radrizzani has also explained why he is set to ask Leeds players to take a pay cut while the season is suspended due to COVID-19.