Manchester United are set to be handed a major injury boost after Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he will be back "very, very soon" from a severe knee injury that cut short his previous campaign.
The Swedish striker suffered the injury during United's triumphant Europa League campaign in the later stages of last season and has been undergoing rehabilitation at the club's Carrington training complex.
The Red Devils released Ibrahimovic following the expiry of his one-year contract in June, but re-signed him just a couple of months later after he showed positive signs in his recovery process. The 35-year-old striker is confident that he will make a strong comeback, but he will not be United's first choice when he returns owing to Romelu Lukaku's blistering start since joining from Everton in the summer.
The former Sweden international has been giving regular updates about his return to fitness and according to the Sun, Ibrahimovic is expecting to be back much ahead of schedule. The report claims that the striker told a fan that he will be back: "very, very soon" when asked about a potential return date.
It will come as a massive boost for Jose Mourinho, as he will have yet another top quality option in the number nine role after utilising Lukaku as his main forward in all the games. Marcus Rashford is also a number nine, but has been used mainly on the wings this season.
The Portuguese manager. however. has urged Ibrahimovic to have patience and not rush his return. The United boss is keen to avoid any setbacks once he returns to training with the rest of the first-team squad. It is likely that the striker could be seen playing a few reserve fixtures in order to build match fitness before returning to the senior squad.
"I think we need him. We wait for him, but with patience, he has to be patient," Mourinho said following United's 3-0 win over Basel in Tuesday's Champions League opener.
"He doesn't have to be emotional and he doesn't have to try to make crazy things to improve quicker in his mind. Because I know that his desire is to improve quicker. So [be] calm, [take things] step by step. We want him, but we want him in his best condition."