Former Sweden and Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic are in talks to return to AC Milan. The 38-year-old has settled for a six-month contract for the remaining of the season, with the option of a further year. The striker, a free agent after leaving LA Galaxy, played for Milan for two seasons from 2010-12, scoring 56 goals in 85 games.

The Swede should be available to coach Stefano Pioli as early as December 30, the date of the resumption of training at Milanello. AC Milan is reeling after a 5-0 thrashing against Atalanta last weekend, their worst defeat in 21 years, and are struggling 11th in the Serie A table. Milan is without a major trophy since their 18th Italian title in 2011. The team’s first game after the winter break will be at home against Sampdoria on January 6.

It is hoped that Ibrahimovic will bring some leadership and a winning mentality to the locker room. Ibrahimovic played for two seasons between 2010 and 2012 with AC Milan, helping them to their last Serie A title, and scoring 42 goals in 61 league appearances. He also won three league titles with Inter Milan, and two with Juventus, which were both revoked following the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal. Ibrahimovic last played in Europe on Boxing Day two years ago for Manchester United. He scored 52 goals in 56 games for Galaxy.

Napoli and Bologna were among other clubs that were keen on the former Manchester United talisman, but have not put forward any formal bids to his representatives. Negotiations with Milan have been ongoing with the two parties trying to satisfy Ibrahimovic’s salary demands, while also adhering to Financial Fair Play rules. The Italian club is currently serving a ban from European competition due to Financial Fair Play breaches.