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Rediff.com  » Sports » Larsson to join Manchester United on loan

Larsson to join Manchester United on loan

Last updated on: December 01, 2006 20:33 IST

Former Barcelona and Celtic striker Henrik Larsson is to join Manchester United on loan from his Swedish hometown club Helsingborg.

The ex-Sweden international, 35, had been expected to end his career at Helsingborg, having returned there after the World Cup in Germany following a two-year stint with Barcelona.

Larsson will go to United on loan from January 1 to March 12.

He told a media conference in Sweden: "We haven't talked about how they [United] will be using me, but we'll have to discuss it...it's a very fun thing to experience at this late stage of my career."

With United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Alan Smith still lacking match fitness, the Swede could be an option up front alongside Louis Saha and Wayne Rooney.

United manager Alex Ferguson told a media conference in Manchester: "I think it's a terrific bit of business for us and we are bringing in someone who can change games.

"You saw him in the Champions League final against Arsenal when I think he won the game for Barcelona.

"He's a goalscorer and can play anywhere along the front line. I have seen him play many times wide right, right, left and through the middle. He is an intelligent player."

Larsson, who returned to Helsingborg after 13 years abroad during which he also played for Feyenoord and Celtic, will not miss any Swedish matches as the new league season kicks off only in April.

"If it had been a question of a longer period than to March we would have said no to the deal," Helsingborg chairman Sten-Inge Fredrin said.

Ferguson revealed that United had been working on the deal for a month after a member of their scouting staff made contact with Helsingborg coach Stuart Baxter.

Larsson's arrival at Old Trafford will end Ferguson's search for a striker in the transfer-window with the striker eligible to play for United in the Champions league if they secure qualification for the knock-out stages next week.

"We looked around that area and this was without question the best option for us," Ferguson said.

In the Champions League final in May, Larsson came on as a substitute to set up both of Barcelona's goals against Arsenal in the match they won 2-1 at the Stade de France in Paris. It was the Swede's last game with the Catalan side.

 

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