The Swede made a miraculous early recovery from knee ligament damage sustained in April but only managed two starts before being consigned to the sidelines once again in late December.
Talk of a potential move to LA Galaxy, who expressed interest in Zlatan over the summer, has surfaced again over the last week and Jose Mourinho, when asked about the rumours, claimed he wouldn’t stand in the 36-year-old’s way if he wanted to leave.
And according to French media outlet L’Equipe, the striker agreed a deal to move to the United States three weeks ago.
Perhaps the task of rediscovering last season’s goalscoring zeal was too much – even a man of Zlatan’s remarkable inner strength and propensity for defying the odds.
Returning to a team that has considerably evolved during your seven-month spell on the sidelines is hard for any player, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both considerably changing the attacking dynamic under Mourinho in comparison to last term.
But at the age of 36, with the effects of an injury unparalleled in its severity still lingering, it can be close to impossible.