Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho thinks Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be available for selection before the end of the year.
Veteran striker Ibrahimovic has been out of action since sustaining a serious knee ligament injury in the Europa League quarter-final clash against Anderlecht at Old Trafford last April.
The 36-year-old was not initially retained at the end of his contract but agreed a return in August, with Mourinho suggesting at the time he would be fit for the new year.
However, the Portuguese is hoping Ibrahimovic, who scored 28 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for United last season, could be back sooner.
"Zlatan is here, he's working here and under our control," said Mourinho at a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Huddersfield Town.
"He's working as you would expect - so, so, so hard, but he's not going to be back in the next week or couple of weeks.
"Let him take his time and be back when everyone feels is the right moment.
"Do I think he will be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it's just a feeling."
Mourinho was unable to provide an update on the potential return of Paul Pogba, who is still struggling with a hamstring problem.
He said: "Paul is not here. I don't know when he comes back, when he's available, I have no idea."
The United boss confirmed the knee injury sustained by Marcus Rashford during the 1-0 win over Benfica on Wednesday would not rule him out of contention for this weekend, with the same group of players at his disposal.
"We have the same players as we had for the Benfica match," said Mourinho.
"Everybody knows every manager wants to have all the players available it's just then a question of the way you position yourself in relation to that.
"The way we try to do it is always to speak about opportunities for others. It doesn't mean I don't miss the players, I would like them to be here for us.
"Nobody is back from injury but what we have is good."
|It depends on Foden - Guardiola puts ball in teenager´s court|
|BREAKING NEWS: Postecoglou leaves Australia post|
|Ronaldo overtakes Messi in Champions League goalscoring race|
|Manchester City 1 Feyenoord 0: Sterling strikes late as top spot is clinched|
|Sevilla 3 Liverpool 3: Klopp´s side fail to survive Spanish inquisition|
|Borussia Dortmund 1 Tottenham 2: Son grabs winner as Spurs seal top spot|
|Napoli 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 0: Insigne stunner helps keep knockout hopes alive|
|APOEL 0 Real Madrid 6: Record-breaking Ronaldo and Benzema send holders through in style|
|Monaco 1 RB Leipzig 4: Werner brace dumps Ligue 1 champions out|
|Ronaldo breaks record for Champions League goals in a calendar year|
|I wanted to cry with Buffon - Rakitic sympathy for Italy great|
|Defiant Smalling responds to ´surprise´ England omission|
|Neuer ´on schedule´ but Heynckes won´t rush Bayern star|
|Messi contract saga not swaying Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Spartak Moscow 1 Maribor 1: Stoppage-time equaliser gives Russians everything to do at Anfield|
|Besiktas 1 Porto 1: Talisca leveller sends hosts through|
|Mkhitaryan questions leave Mourinho riled|
|Jones out of Basel, Brighton games but Mourinho hopeful on Bailly|
|Conte unhappy with Chelsea´s fixture congestion|
|Pepe tells Ronaldo: Come to Besiktas!|
|Clement expects Abraham to shake off back injury for Bournemouth clash|
|Oddo replaces sacked Del Neri at Udinese|
|Bartomeu hints at January Barcelona signings|
|Emery defends ´responsible´ Neymar from lifestyle criticism|
|Del Neri sacked by Udinese|
|Everton striker Niasse facing two-match ban after FA diving charge|
|Lampard excited by English clubs in Champions League|
|Thiago and Coman back for Bayern´s trip to Anderlecht|
|Dybala hails Messi as ´our Maradona´, wants to play with Neymar|
|Sherwood talks up Spurs as potential Champions League winners|
|Borussia Dortmund on the brink as Real Madrid eye progress - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Hughton hopeful on video assistance after Brighton denied penalty|
|Klopp staying calm over Salah form|
|Griezmann: I don´t regret staying at Atletico|
|Guardiola dismisses Champions League favourites tag|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Stoke City 2: Gross, Izquierdo extend home unbeaten run|
|Rose in contention to face Dortmund as Pochettino denies ´issue´ with defender|
|Benzema knows he can give more – Zidane|
|I´ve fulfilled my dreams already – Klopp has no plans to coach Barcelona|
|Aubameyang will face Tottenham, Bosz confirms|
|Klopp expects Matip to face Chelsea, Lallana return getting ´nearer´|
|Berizzo looking to former Red Aspas to provide lessons for Sevilla|
|Mangala ready to pounce, but realistic on Man City playing time|
|Mendy injury means Aguero or Jesus for Guardiola|
|Guardiola sends ´big hug´ to ´amazing, so gentle´ Pulis|
|Tavecchio quits as head of FIGC, claims board have refused to resign|
|Benedetto facing Argentina World Cup KO with cruciate injury|
|Shape up! Heynckes reveals demand to Bayern star Vidal|
|Ramos sits out Madrid trip to APOEL|
|West Brom sack Pulis after wretched run|
|Lloris wants Spurs to forget title and focus on top four|
|Pogba no Gerrard yet, says Benitez|
|Guardiola will ´kill´ City stars if they get complacent|
|Ibrahimovic: My injury was worse than people know|
|Icardi like a ´raptor pouncing on its prey´, says Spalletti|
|City style suits me and thrills neutrals, says De Bruyne|
|Guardiola ready to risk Kompany for Man City after Stones´ injury|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|In-form Chelsea have regained hunger - Conte|
|Inter 2 Atalanta 0: Icardi brace sends Spalletti´s side second|
|Giampaolo promises more from ´extraordinary´ Sampdoria|
|Record-breaking Valencia tee up blockbuster Barcelona clash|
|Poor West Ham performance at Watford was to be expected - Moyes|
|We will see what happens in the future - Silva non-committal on Everton rumours|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|Football needs to do more to combat racism - Boateng|
|Watford 2 West Ham 0: Misery for Moyes on Hammers bow|
|Unlucky 13: Benevento suffer record-breaking defeat|
|Juventus lost composure amid Sampdoria onslaught - Allegri|
|Sampdoria 3 Juventus 2: Champions slip further off the pace after thriller|
|Coleman confirmed as Sunderland boss|
|I was just injured - Belgium´s Nainggolan blasts ´stupid´ claims of feigned ailment|
|Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Losing streak snapped to ease pressure on Christiansen|
|Hughes backs Giggs for Wales job|
|Madrid confirm Ramos´ broken nose after derby clash|
|Kane wants to retire with Tottenham|
|Mourinho: Man United lacked balance with attacking line-up|
|Pastore not considering PSG exit to help World Cup chances|
|Wenger, Ozil & Sanchez uncertainty affecting Arsenal, says Seaman|
|Silva not surprised by Chelsea, Spurs interest in Richarlison|
|Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri on shortlist to replace Ventura|
|Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2: Visitors claim first A-League win of season|
|Marcelo unaware of Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real Madrid|
|Neymar will take PSG´s next penalty - Cavani|
|Ranieri would consider coaching Italy|
|Postecoglou set for decision on Socceroos future|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|