The Swedish superstar considered a return to England but settled on closeness at the San Siro.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic held move discussions with Leeds United before opting for a return to Serie A with AC Milan, according to the Championship club’s proprietor Andrea Radrizzani.
The 38-year-old became accessible after deciding to leave MLS side the LA Galaxy at the end of the season and finally signed a six-month deal with Milan – including an option to extend by a year.
Ibrahimovic’s future was uncertain for almost two months before selecting his Italy return, with Radrizzani showing he had talks with the prior Manchester United celebrity to bring him back to England to spearhead Leeds’ push for Premier League promotion.
The Italian owner also said the club making a play for Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani – who chose to stay at the French capital.
“I talked with Zlatan Ibrahimovic more concretely”, Radrizzani told Sky in Italy’s Gianluca Di Marzio.
“He could have given us that decisive push but he chose to go to AC Milan. He’s been very honest and transparent with me.
“We will need to be honest and coherent with the plan of both the team and coach. I didn’t even talk with [coach] Marcelo Bielsa about Cavani and Ibrahimovic since we never got to the point that we can sit down and talk about them.”
After winning seven games in a row during November and December last year, Leeds hit a stumbling block in their charge for Premier League promotion, just winning two of the next 12 matches.
The team targeted a striker during the January transfer window to help Patrick Bamford up top as the bad run of form appeared to derail their season.
After talks with Ibrahimovic and Cavani fell through, the Whites signed France Under-21 Global striker Jean-Kevin Augustin on loan from RB Leipzig and Manchester City winger Ian Poveda to strengthen their attack.
Leeds won six consecutive games through February and March to be sitting of the Championship table one point clear of West Brom and seven before third-placed Fulham.
The Championship, in addition to the Premier League, is now suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, though it appears unlikely to return by this date.