Manchester United fans were in for a treat after premier striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signed for the club on Thursday, and now, manager Jose Mourinho has gone on to indicate that the veteran forward could return at the start of the new year.
The former Swedish international, who scored an impressive 28 goals in 46 matches for United last season, has agreed to a new 1-year deal at Old Trafford. The 35-year-old was released in June this year after his season was ended prematurely by a knee injury during an Europa League encounter against Anderlecht in April.
After months of speculation, the legendary footballer announced his new deal with the Old Trafford club in style. Zlatan wants to be fully fit and ready before making a return for United, and Jose has gone on to state that it will likely be after Christmas that the fans will get to watch him.
“He will be an extra man for us in the second part of the season. When I say second part, we say January after Christmas, when the transfer window reopens but I have no idea at all,” said Jose.
United have been drawn against Benfica, FC Basel and Olympiakos in Group A of the Champions League, and the Portuguese believes Zlatan will not be able to play a part before the knockout stages at least, provided his club qualifies.
“He will not be ready for the group phase of the Champions League. I don’t think there is any chance of that. I’m not thinking Zlatan to play any part of the group phase, hopefully he can play in the knockout phase but for that we need to finish top two,” said the manager.
United have plenty of options in the attacking half, especially with Romelu Lukaku leading the line as their striker, and Zlatan’s addition will be pivotal once he is 100% fit and raring to go. With Wayne Rooney’s departure, Ibrahimovic will be sporting the illustrious No. 10 shirt, and fight for a place with the likes of Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial.
Written by Rajdeep Saha
Sports journalist with stints across print, digital and television. Contribution to each medium has been thrilling. Experienced in writing for this passionate game called football. Journalist by choice and passion.