Sunderland fans watching the recent Netflix documentary ‘Sunderland Till I Die’ will have been intrigued by many moments from the calamitous 2017-18 Championship campaign.
Perhaps one of the most bizarre moments came in episode two. With Sunderland trying to bring in a new striker they were looking at plenty of targets. But chief executive Martin Bain seemed aghast to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the list, considering the club’s financial situation.
It was bizarre that the Swedish striker was present on a list of potential targets for Sunderland last summer.
However, he really did nearly join Sunderland. Not last summer, but back in 2002 he was linked. Sunderland were after a new maestro striker up top after the retirement of Niall Quinn.
Sky Sports reported that Sunderland launched a £6 million bid for the player as Peter Reid was impressed with the Swedish international’s start to life in Holland.
“I also missed out on Zlatan Ibrahimovic a couple of times. He was at Malmo when my former Everton team-mate, Andy King, spotted him at La Manga but he ended up going to Ajax.
“Later on, I went over to Holland and spoke to (Ajax technical director) Leo Beenhakker about him but we couldn’t get it over the line.”
Ronald Koeman convinced him to stay and Ibrahimovic went on to be a massive hit at the Dutch side. Reid later stated that he had also tried to sign Zlatan when he was at Malmo.
So whilst even considering a move for Ibrahimovic in 2017 was a massive waste of time, once upon a time Sunderland genuinely came close.