Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has added more fuel to the growing belief that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make his eagerly awaited comeback in December, before the turn of the calendar year, after completing his recovery from a potentially career threatening injury.
On Friday, ex-United striker Andrew Cole commented that he believed Ibrahimovic would be back playing by 'December or January' after chatting with the 36-year-old Swede in the gym.
And when Mourinho addressed the media ahead of United's weekend game against Huddersfield, he admitted that he believes it will happen at some point in 2017.
"Zlatan is here, under our control, working as I would expect, so, so hard, but he's not back in a week or a couple of weeks," Mourinho is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
"Let's let him take his time and be back in the right moment. Do I think he will be back in 2017? Yes I do, but it's just a feeling."
Ibrahimovic is believed to have joined team training for the first time in the last few days. It has been reported that he is not yet able to participate in full sessions, but will likely do so in a couple of weeks. From then, he will simply need to work on improving his match fitness.
Unfortunately for United fans, Mourinho is far less certain about Paul Pogba's injury status.
The Frenchman has been nursing a hamstring problem since late September, with the boss forced to declare on Friday, "I don't know when he will come back. I don't know when he's available. I have no idea about it."
Aside from that, United have no new injury problems ahead of the game against Huddersfield, their first away trip to the west Yorkshire club in 46 years.
That last encounter in October 1971 also happened to be the last time that United legendary 'trinity' Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law all scored in the same game.