Let's rewind to 2012, shall we? Milan sells Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris-Saint Germain. The Swedish international signs a three-year contract with the Ligue 1 giants for 15.7 million Euros. The worst part? Zlatan had promised that he would stay at Milan. He even said at a press conference,
"I want to stay with Milan for another three years. I'm happy there."
So, Zlatan essentially pulled a Fabian Delph by promising to stay at Milan and then jetting off to Paris when he heard the siren song of baguettes and brie. Zlatan isn't even the real villain in this story, though. That honour belongs to one of the people at the root of all of Milan's problems.
In case you're not there yet: we're talking about Adriano Galliani. When Milan's season began in 2012, Galliani told the media that Ibrahimovic wanted to stay and, in fact, Galliani was to blame for his departure. Though Galliani had apparently promised Ibrahimovic he would not be sold, Zio Fester's insatiable desire for green paper enticed him to accept an offer from PSG. This may be the only situation in which Galliani has acknowledged capability for the scorched earth he leaves in the wake of his ineptitude, but his poor judgement has laid Milan to waste, and we don't really care for his apology, do we?
That is neither here nor there, however. The purpose of this sad, sad story is to remind us all of one inalienable truth: Zlatan Ibrahimovic loved Milan. Milan was his home, and the place where, presumably, he wanted to spend the next three years of his career. The fact that he left still loving Milan surely means that this breakup was as hard on him as it was on us, right?
Perhaps one needs an illustrative example of the phenomenon of "returning home" to truly get it. For that, let's cross the ocean and visit a wonderful place called Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland, you say? Yes, Cleveland, home to one of the best basketball players in the world, Lebron James. In 2010, King James announced his departure from Cleveland, his hometown, for the Miami Heat, breaking hearts across the great state of Ohio. Four years later, he returned to Cleveland. Why? Well, Cleveland is the team he truly loves and adores, and, despite the years he spent in Miami, where he was wildly successful, he had a sincere yearning for his home. Remind you of anyone? Zlatan could walk parallel to Lebron James (because Zlatan does not follow anyone's footsteps) and return triumphantly to his most beloved club.
Still don't think so? Let's not forget what Ibrahimovic said about Milan even after he joined PSG:
"I love Milan. I liked it, and I felt at home there. This is a club where I could imagine going back if I had to choose. Often, you do not go back to where you were, but Milan, I can imagine. This is a fantastic club."
No need to say any more.
Romanticism aside: Ibrahimovic would undoubtedly bolster Milan's lineup. Ibrahimovic has scored 31 goals so far in all competitions, meanwhile; Carlos Bacca, Milan's leading goalscorer, has managed 13 goals. Zlatan's value lies han just his goals, though, the Swede is a highly creative player, exhibiting a unique skillset of prolific ability in front of goal, extraordinary vision, and selflessness with the ball. This is coupled with his 60 percent shot accuracy, 79 percent pass accuracy, and just one yellow card this season. If Zlatan did return to Milan, he would probably play alongside Bacca. Since Bacca is a poacher, Zlatan would be able to draw the defenders in and then simply play a ball to Bacca for a goal. After doing this enough times, Zlatan could fake the pass and take the goal himself. Think of the possibilities! Oh, it will be glorious!
The last thing Zlatan brings with him is his leadership. A true presence on the field and in training, he would not only inspire Milan to win more, but he would inspire the 12th man, the fans. He could single-handedly pull Milan out of its grave.
All that needs to happen is for Zlatan to come home.