Jose Mourinho confirms he is ready to welcome back Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed he is ready to offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic a route back into his plans, amid speculation that the Swedish striker could be ready to return to action earlier than expected.
Ibrahimovic appeared to have kicked his last ball for United after he picked up a serious knee injury in April, which forced the club to withdraw the offer of a fresh contract that had been on the table since last December.
The iconic Swedish striker is believed to be weighing up a big money offer from Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy to move to California in 2018, yet Mourinho has given the biggest hint yet that the striker who scored 28 goals for United last season could make a surprise return to the Premier League.
When asked whether he would consider offering Ibrahimovic a new deal at a press conference in America, Mourinho offered this response: “It's possible, it's open. Of course.
“We want him to be honest and open and let everything be there for him to make a decision in case his desire was to leave, so there was not a new contract.
“There was a space and time for everyone to think, to feel, to decide and, from his point of view, he made the decision to still want to play football at the highest level.
“It would be easy for him to hide behind such an amazing injury and say it's time to play at a different level. But he made the challenge for him to continue at the highest level.
“We opened our door for him to recover with us and then to make a decision. If that decision is for him to stay and for us to wait, let's say, until December, because I don't think before December he can be back playing competitive football, then why not?
“We are speaking, we are exchanging ideas, but the most important thing is what is best for the player.”
Ibrahimovic has been using United’s medical facilities at their Carrington training base during his rehabilition, with the speed of his recovery surprising Mourinho and the club’s medical staff.
Romalu Lukaku may have arrived in a £75m deal from Everton this summer, but it is clear that Mourinho has not closed the book on Ibrahimovic’s United story just yet.