Jose Mourinho has revealed Manchester United are at the head of the queue to re-sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic in January.
The 35-year-old Swede scored 28 goals and claimed 10 assists in 46 appearances, but he suffered a serious knee injury in April which ended his season.
United then decided not to renew the 12-month deal he signed last summer and the striker has been linked with a move to MLS and a return to AC Milan, Mourinho though is convinced the striker is heading back to Old Trafford.
“Maybe he’ll stay with us,” Mourinho told Italian broadcaster Sport Mediaset. “He has no contract but he is closer to Manchester.”
The Swede has remained in Manchester to work on his rehabilitation, with an aim of being fit again in January.
The Los Angeles Galaxy are said to have placed £6million-a-year deal on the table for Ibrahimovic, but the player is understood to be unhappy with finishing his season at Old Trafford on the treatment table and Mourinho admitted last month a return is very much an oprion.
“Possible, it’s open,” Mourinho said in July when asked if there was a chance Ibrahimovic could sign a new deal.
“Of course we wanted to be honest and open and let everything for him to make the decision in case his desire was to leave, so there was not a new contract.
“There was a space of time for everybody to think, to feel, to decide and from his point of view he made the decision of wanting to play football still at the highest level, didn’t want to hide behind such an amazing injury.
“It would be easy for him to hide behind it and to say ‘it’s time stop and go to a different level of football’. He did not want that.
“He was not happy with the way he finished the season. Of course with his first European trophy but not playing and he made the challenge for himself of wanting to keep playing at the highest level.
“Obviously we open our door for him to recover with us, obviously Old Trafford, Carrington is open for him to recover with our people and to be one of us.
“At the same time, let’s make a decision that makes us all happy and if that decision is for him to stay and for us to wait, let’s say until December maybe because I don’t think before December he can be back to competitive football.
“But why not for us to wait for such a good player that gave us so much?
“So we’re speaking, we are changing ideas and again it’s in the hands of (executive vice-chairman Ed) Woodward and Zlatan’s agent, but the important thing is that the final decision is the best for the player.”