Manchester United are in for a major injury boost with Zlatan Ibrahimovic expected to return over a month ahead of schedule.
The former Sweden international has been sidelined with a knee injury that he suffered at the end of last season during the latter stages of United's victorious Europa League campaign.
Ibrahimovic underwent surgery and was only expected to return to action at the earliest in January next year. The severity of the injury saw the Red Devils release the player earlier in the summer following the expiry of his contract, but allowed him to use the Carrington training facilities to continue his rehabilitation.
The 35-year-old vowed to come back stronger after the setback and has been true to his word. Ibrahimovic has been posting regular updates about his training and looks to be making quicker than expected progress, which led United to offer him another contract and re-sign him during the recently concluded summer transfer window.
According to the Mirror, the striker could return to action within three months with the target being United's last two Champions League group games on 22 November and 5 December. Jose Mourinho also looks to be optimistic about the Swede's earlier than expected return after the Portuguese manager named him in his squad for Europe's elite club competition.
Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals across all competitions for the 20-time English champions last season to help them to three trophies – the Community Shield, the EFL Cup and the Europa League. However, the Swede will not be an automatic starter once he returns from injury owing to the arrival of Romelu Lukaku in the summer.
The Belgian joined from Everton in a £75m ($97m) deal this summer and has hit the ground running. He has scored three goals in as many games to help United to the top of the Premier League, two points clear of the rest of the field. Lukaku has made it clear that he does not fear the return of Ibrahimovic and believes the team will benefit from his personality as they look to win the title.