Ibrahimovic was let go at the end of his one-year contract, but the veteran Swede is undergoing rehabilitation at United ahead of his expected return to fitness around Christmas.
And following his latest post on Instagram, in which the 35-year-old former PSG striker shared four videos of his workout regime, it's easy to see why Jose Mourinho is so keen to keep Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford for a while longer.
"I think we were close because to be fair to Manchester United, they offered far more money than Real Madrid did and also, as far as I know, offered far more wages, so we tried to get Gareth Bale".
"I just think that he was very clear by showing what he did, previous year was not enough for him".
"He thinks he can do more at football's highest level so we are having conversations and discussing the possibility of him staying for the second part of the season".
United have invested heavily on the signings of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof in the transfer window, while champions Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have also spent large sums.
Former Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins traded to Rams
The deals, however, involve more changes to a team with just 28 players who opened training camp on Buffalo's roster a year ago. Watkins' future in Buffalo was already in question after the Bills declined to pick up his fifth-year contract option in May.
"So I don't think I am in a position of crying, of moaning, of protesting".
Willian and Mourinho remain on good terms, greeting each other warmly before matches between Chelsea and United, and the 29-year-old said Mourinho asked about bringing him to United before any move was blocked.
"We have a central midfielder and striker, so obviously another player would be one coming from the sides".
"We always had that so my teams always had the goalscorer, we always had the guy that scores more goals, but then we had the winger that scored 15 goals, we had the midfield player who scored 10 goals, we had the central defender that scored five goals".
Mourinho believes United are capable of winning a title in his second season, but is not kidding himself over the challenge that awaits them domestically. Every opponent wants to win every match, every opponent gives you a hard time.
"I have conditions to deliver a better team than I did in the first season". But we are involved in four competitions.