Zlatan Ibrahimovic Reportedly Targeting December Manchester United Return

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United during the EFL Cup Final match between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is reportedly aiming to make his Manchester United return against Arsenal on December 2 as he seeks to bounce back from almost eight months out with a serious knee injury. 

The Swede hasn't played since the second leg of United's UEFA Europa League semi-final win over Anderlecht in April, but the Mirror's James Whaling noted he's on the brink of a comeback "sooner than expected."

Despite his injury keeping him sidelined for almost the entire first half of the season, Ibrahimovic was handed a new one-year contract by the Red Devils in August. Whaling provided quotes from the forward, who said: "I have trained every day since I had my knee operated on, there is no vacation."

The Red Devils moved to replace Ibrahimovic's goal contribution by signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton for a club-record £75 million, although the Swede affirmed to BT Sport earlier this year his confidence that he remains superior:

United are scheduled to face CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on December 5, only three days after the Arsenal clash, and Ibrahimovic could also play in that contest after being named in the club's UEFA Champions League squad, per Sky Sports.

Jose Mourinho will be eager to welcome a more seasoned attacking figure back into his ranks, but the question remains as to how the United manager will appease both players and their playing expectations.

On the one hand, he has Lukaku, a star who's fitted seamlessly into the United setup and scored 11 goals in his first 10 appearances for the club; on the other, one of the most celebrated strikers in modern football who boasts a prolific record at every club he's represented.

Squawka recently detailed Ibrahimovic's career numbers, stretching over several of Europe's top leagues, winning titles wherever he's gone:

Another major boost for United is that Ibrahimovic should be fit to feature in the knockout stages of the Champions League, and they look to be favourites to advance from Group A after winning their opening two matches to lead the standings by three points.

Ibrahimovic recently turned 36 and will offer United an experienced attacking presence until at least the end of this season, and Arsenal could be the first opponent to feel his fury following a frustrating spell on the sidelines.