Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have to lower his wage demands or risk missing out on a move to AC Milan, sources have told ESPN FC.
The former Sweden international announced he was ending his two-year spell with Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy at the end of 2019, and Milan remain his preferred destination should he return to Europe.
However, despite various meetings between the forward's agent, Mino Raiola, and Milan's hierarchy, both parties are yet to agree a deal, with the financial aspects of the deal proving a stumbling block.
Sources told ESPN FC that Ibrahimovic's camp is waiting for a response from Milan. There is still plenty of time to find an agreement, though, as the ex-Paris Saint-Germain forward is still under contract with the Galaxy until Dec. 31.
The Ibrahimovic case is still quite divisive at Milan board level, as the 38-year-old does not fit in the club's transfer strategy, which is to push young players. Signing him would represent a departure from the recruitment policy employed over the past year, as all signings have had to be 25 or younger.
More importantly, his wage demands of €230,000 per week are far too high for his former club.
However, Ibrahimovic is aware of how much Milan need him. They are in the market for a top striker because their two options, Rafael Leao and Krzysztof Piatek, are struggling for form this season. Recruiting Ibrahimovic would be a huge coup marketing-wise, too, especially the year of Milan's 120th anniversary.
Ibrahimovic played 85 games in all competitions and scored 56 goals between 2010 and 2012 with AC Milan, winning the Serie A title in his first season.
In December's edition of GQ magazine, Ibrahimovic talked about his future and seemed to validate the AC Milan option.
"I will join a team that has to win again, that has to renew its history, which is looking for a challenge against everyone," he said. "Only then will I be able to find the necessary stimuli to surprise you again.
"I will see you in Italy soon."
The interview happened a few weeks ago, so it doesn't reflect the state of the negotiations between Ibrahimovic and Milan at present.
Nevertheless, Fiorentina have teased their own fans on their social media channels by posting a tweet referring to the GQ interview, which read: "Looking forward to having you back in Italy Ibra."