ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC will go to America for a knee operation this week in a bid to save his career.
But Manchester United are set to leave the door open on a return for the hitman, 35, until he is told how long he faces out.
Ibra was left devastated after injuring his right knee during Thursday’s Europa League quarter- final win over Anderlecht.
He is set to go under the knife with world-renowned surgeon Dr Freddie Fu overseeing the op at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Early signs are that Ibra could miss eight months if he has an anterior cruciate ligament problem.
Hong Kong-born specialist Fu is an expert on ACL injuries and has conducted over 6,000 ops.
Chelsea star Kurt Zouma suffered a near–identical injury, also to his right knee, in February of last year and spent seven months out.
With Ibra’s contract expiring at the end of the season, he is set to be without a deal for the start of next term.
The 28-goal Swede’s impact means United are unlikely to write off his career until there is a definitive answer on his injury.
Boss Jose Mourinho had been desperate to keep Ibrahimovic and looked shaken after being told of the seriousness of the problem.
Talks will now take place with Ibra’s agent Mino Raiola over whether United will still want him, given he may not be available until 2018.
Defender Marcos Rojo also damaged a knee against Anderlecht — but there had been hopes it was not as serious.
The Red Devils are waiting on specialist opinion though. A United statement said: “Estimations of time to full recovery will only be possible once definitive treatment plans have been decided after consultations.”
Mourinho’s men travel to Burnley tomorrow for a game that is crucial to their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Midfielder Michael Carrick said: “Zlatan and Marcos are two players who have played a lot of games and been important for us.
“But we’ve got the squad and people are going to have to step in. We’ve got to deal with it.”