Pearce : Zlatan would be a good alternative

Ibrahimovic is reportedly ready to sign a new contract at Old Trafford after recovering from a long-term knee injury which ended his debut season in English football.

Talks are ongoing between the two parties but Sky sources understand a deal has yet to be agreed.

United released Ibrahimovic at the end of last season and subsequently replaced the Swedish striker with Romelu Lukaku, who joined Jose Mourinho's side in a £90m deal from Everton.

Pearce believes the two strikers are unlikely to start alongside each other under Jose Mourinho, but he believes Ibrahimovic would be a welcome addition to the Portuguese's squad.

"[He's] a good alternative," said Pearce. "Whether Mourinho will play them both together or just divvy them up and play one one week and one the next week, or just for certain games.

"They've got Champions League football this year, some real high-profile matches, and certainly Mourinho prioritises every bit of silverware he can get his hands on.

"Whatever it is, he likes to win things, so he's going to need a big squad of players. And this player, when he walks through the door, he demands respect and he'll get that from them there."

Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions in his first season with Manchester United and former Everton midfielder Leon Osman is not surprised to see the Swede linked with a return to Old Trafford.

"When the injury happened and it turned out to be as significant as it was, I wasn't surprised with how it was dealt with," said Osman.

"I presumed there must have been some sort of gentleman's agreement where they said 'we want to keep you on but the wages you're on make it incredibly difficult for us to give you the contract for the next six months when you won't be playing, but we would still like to honour it when you're fit'.

"It wouldn't surprise me if that was an agreement struck up a good few months back. He's done all his rehabilitation in Manchester and now it seems as though it has come to that point."

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