Zlatan Ibrahimovic may still have a future at Manchester United after the 35-year-old completes his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.
The ex-Sweden captain was included on the club’s release list having suffered ligament damage in the Europa League against Feyenoord, forcing him out for the rest of the year.
Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in his maiden campaign at Old Trafford and was a key figure as the club won three trophies last term.
The former Barcelona and Juventus forward scored the winning goals in the Community Shield and English Football League Cup finals at Wembley and netted four times en route to the club winning the Europa League – a competition which provides Jose Mourinho’s side with direct qualification for the Champions League.
The Manchester Evening News reports that with United keen to repay Ibrahimovic, he will use their Carrington training ground as the base for his rehabilitation.
Should the recuperation go well then the club are open to a short-term deal starting in January 2018 when he is expected to return to full fitness.
Having joined United on a free following a spell at Paris Saint-Germain, Ibrahimovic was regarded as one of the signings of the season until he picked up a career-threatening knee problem in April.
Agent Mino Raiola says several clubs have enquired over the striker’s plans beyond the end of the year but that his preference is to remain with the 20-time English league champions.
After undergoing surgery in May, Ibrahimovic stated his desire to return to the game amid rumours his illustrious career could be curtailed. “I will go through this like everything else and come back even stronger,” he said via Instagram.
“So far I played with one leg so it shouldn’t be any problem. One thing is for sure, I decide when its time to stop and nothing else. Giving up is not an option. See you soon.”
Should United indeed move to re-sign Ibrahimovic, who is essentially a free agent after his 12-month deal came to an end, it would see them rekindle a deal for a player who cost £19.11m during his one-year spell.
According to Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football Ibrahimovic earned a basic wage of £367,640-per-week with the Premier League outfit, while he was also paid a goal bonus of £2.86m.
Whether United’s need for a forward come next season is as great as it is now remains to be seen. Injury to Ibrahimovic and the imminent departure of Wayne Rooney has led to the club being heavily linked with a £61.5m move for Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata. Marca understand they are close to agreeing terms over signing the Spain international.