Mata tips returning Ibrahimovic to aid Man Utd title challenge

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United
The Spaniard believes the Red Devils are in a stronger position to challenge for the top-flight crown with the enigmatic Swede back on their books

Juan Mata says the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a “big boost” to Manchester United as they set their sights on the Premier League title.

Red Devils 9/4 for PL success

The enigmatic Swedish striker has penned a new one-year deal with the Red Devils and will re-join the ranks once fully recovered from the knee injury which brought his 2016-17 campaign to a premature conclusion.

Ibrahimovic had proved to be a talismanic presence prior to picking up an untimely knock in April and Jose Mourinho had made no secret of his desire to get another deal done with the 35-year-old despite seeing him released once a previous agreement had come to an end.

With fresh terms now in place, Mata is looking forward to welcoming a proven talent back into the fold as Jose Mourinho seeks to return the English top-flight crown to Old Trafford.

The Spain international told Football Focus: “Ibrahimovic’s return is good news for United.

“Everyone [who] knows Zlatan knows what he can give us, his personality on and off the pitch and his goals.

“He can be a big boost for us after the first part of the season.

“Hopefully he can join soon, he can recover quickly and he can give us a lot of goals in the second part of the [season].

Juan Mata Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United

“How does he make the team feel? You can imagine that he’s very confident by himself so he can give us this confidence that he has.

“Usually on the pitch you know he’s a big presence for our rivals, for everyone.

“Obviously when he’s in the box he scores with his head and both legs.

“You know, he is a great addition. Obviously first is that he can recover 100 per cent and quick.

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“And second I think he will be very important for us in our objective to try and fight for the title so it’s a happy day today.”

Ibrahimovic netted 28 times for United in all competitions last season as he helped them to Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League success.

He has seen Mourinho move to bolster his striking ranks with the £75 million addition of Romelu Lukaku, but his return will add greater depth to the Red Devils squad and allow for rotation and rest periods when required.