Gary Neville: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return will be like a fourth signing to Jose Mourinho

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville believes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to action will feel like a fourth signing to Jose Mourinho.

The Swede, released from the club in June, signed a new deal with Man United last week and could regain full fitness in time to aid Mourinho’s men during a busy December schedule.

Mourinho has made three signings this summer in the form of Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic and still wants a winger but is unlikely to see any further deals go through before 11pm on Thursday.

But Neville, writing in a Sky Sports column, noted that the 35-year-old’s reintroduction in December will feel like a fourth signing in itself.

“I don’t think either City or Man United will be desperate to do any business otherwise,” he said. “Jose Mourinho has been quite honest in saying he wanted four and he’s got three plus Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

“I think he wanted a wide player but I don’t think he’ll be too concerned because of the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata.”

The timing of Zlatan’s return feels unmistakably providential. Just when United, amid a furious Christmas period, start to think about the ‘business end of the season’ – the home straight – Zlatan will make what guarantees to be a bombastic return.

His commanding, assured presence will be invaluable. Nobody in that side has claimed more silverware; nobody really believes in themselves like he does. Indeed, the very fact that rumours of a coaching role being offered to Zlatan have surfaced tells you all you need to know about his influence on this dressing room.

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