Zlatan Ibrahimovic Rumoured to Sign Manchester United Contract Post Knee Surgery

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2017

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - MAY 24: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United applauds the supporters following the UEFA Europa League Final match between Ajax and Manchester United at Friends Arena on May 24, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to sign a second contract with Manchester United once he returns to full fitness in October, according to Warren Haughton of The Sun.

The 35-year-old Swedish striker has been out since April with a knee injury but should be back fit by October ahead of schedule following surgery. United will offer the prolific centre-forward a new short-term deal despite officially releasing him back in June, per Haughton.

United originally had the option of exercising a second year on the deal Ibrahimovic signed when he joined the Old Trafford club in 2016. However, the Red Devils initially opted against guaranteeing the Swede a second season.

Things have changed since, according to Haughton, with United impressed by the veteran's speedy recovery from knee surgery: "SunSport understands the United medical staff are amazed by the Swede’s recovery this summer, with boss Jose Mourinho expected to offer last season’s top scorer a short-term deal until the end of the campaign."

Mourinho has been wowed by Ibrahimovic's powers of recovery.
Mourinho has been wowed by Ibrahimovic's powers of recovery.Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Ibrahimovic has stayed close to United since his release, as he bids to regain full fitness, per the report. It's a move that not only has helped Ibrahimovic step up his recovery, he's also stayed in the club's thinking ahead of next season.

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The player is "working at United’s Carrington training complex, when the norm is for foreign players to rehabilitate themselves abroad."

Significantly, the report also says playing a second campaign in the red half of Manchester would be Ibrahimovic's preferred choice for next season: "Offers from Major League Soccer, China and the Premier League have come in, but Ibrahimovic’s first choice will be to continue his career in the North West."

It makes sense for United to want to keep Ibrahimovic after the former Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Juventus star defied Father Time last season. He scored 28 times in all competitions, per WhoScored.com, helping United win the EFL Cup in the process.

Ibrahimovic powered United to trophies last season.
Ibrahimovic powered United to trophies last season.Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

The Red Devils have already done a deal for a replacement, signing striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton for £75 million, per BBC Sport. Belgium international Lukaku has even asked Ibrahimovic for the No. 9 shirt next season, according to Haughton.

Letting Lukaku lead the line while also signing Ibrahimovic for a second time would give United a formidable forward line in manager Jose Mourinho's second season. It would be similar to when Mourinho brought veteran Didier Drogba back to Chelsea to back up Diego Costa for the 2014/15 campaign.

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