If you are a talented young striker making waves in Sweden, it is only a matter of time before the inevitable occurs.
But, in the case of Mattias Svanberg, those unavoidable comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic made perfect sense (Goal).
Standing at 6ft 1ins, Svanberg, like the evergreen AC Milan talisman, is a rangy, physical centre-forward with an eye for the spectacular. He, too, honed his considerable talents among the cosmopolitan canals of Malmo.
According to V Sport, Milan’s apparent interest in the 21-year-old Bologna youngster has gone down rather well with the former Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain superstar.
Ibrahimovic has gone as far as to recommend Svanberg to the Serie A leaders, with Bologna expected to demand somewhere in the fee of £15 million for the four-time Sweden international.
Far from worrying about his own place (football’s answer to Benjamin Button has never been short of confidence after all), Ibra may see this as an ideal opportunity to personally mentor a striker who could be the future of not only Milan but also the Swedish national team.
Premier League duo Leicester City and Southampton are also interested, according to Gianluca di Marzio.
But, for every young Swede, the chance to share a dressing room with the country’s most famous son is the stuff dreams are made of.
Just look at Emil Roback, another fresh-faced Swedish striker who turned down advances from Arsenal and Bayern Munich in order to join Ibrahimovic at San Siro last summer.
“He is the future of Sweden, I can tell you now. He is a player of a completely different level,” Ibrahimovic said of Roback in December, via AftonBladet.
Ralph Hasenhuttl and Brendan Rodgers are renowned Europe-wide for their ability to turn promising youngsters into elite-level talents, from Timo Werner to Philippe Coutinho, Naby Keita to Raheem Sterling.
But when Ibrahimovic asks you to join him in Milan, you don’t say no. Especially if you’re Swedish.
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