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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 11:20 GMT
Man Utd capture Larsson on loan
Henrik Larsson
Larsson will make his Premiership bow at 35
Manchester United will sign veteran striker Henrik Larsson on a three-month loan deal in January.

The 35-year-old former Celtic striker will leave current club Helsingborg on 1 January and will return on 12 March in time for the Swedish season.

Larsson said: "United have been after me before, after the first or second season with Celtic.

"It feels good to come and play for such a big club. I may not start every match, but it feels like a fun thing."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is short of options up front, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer injured and Alan Smith still seeking full fitness.

606 DEBATE: Will the Swedish star help Man Utd regain the title?

That leaves Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha as his only recognised strikers.

Ferguson said: "I have always admired Larsson. I made a move for him when he was at Celtic but then they managed to persuade him to stay.

"He is a great player. It is a terrific bit of business for us. We are bringing someone in who can change a game.

"We won't be going for any other strikers. We have exhausted all avenues and this, without doubt, is the best option."

Larsson left Barcelona at the end of last season to join hometown club Helsingborg, helping them to a fourth-placed league finish and the Swedish Cup in his first season.

Am I a back-up? Yes, at the beginning

Henrik Larsson

However, their normal season ended in November, leaving Larsson free to play for United.

"I know the players," said Larsson. "I have played against many of them, so it's not a new thing. I hope the situation will be easier, knowing the faces and names.

"I will go over there to play as much as possible - but I have no idea of how they want to use me.

"We will see how much playing time there will be. Am I a back-up? Yes, at the beginning.

"Then you will see what I can contribute and how things are going. We have not discussed a jersey number at all. We will see what it will be."

Larsson spent two years in Spain and played a decisive role in this year's Champions League final when he came on in the second half and set up both goals in the defeat of Arsenal.

The Swede joined Barca in 2004 following a hugely successful seven-year spell at Celtic, where he is widely hailed as one of the best players in the club's history.

He scored 242 goals in more than 300 appearances for the Scottish club.

Norway forward Solskjaer added: "He must be the best Scandinavian outfield player since (Denmark's) Michael Laudrup. You won't find many better players around Europe.

"He's been fantastic for the last 15 years, and he showed at Celtic and Barcelona that he can handle the pressure of being at a top club with expectations.

"I think he'll have a good influence on us, and he'll relish the opportunity at his age."

Former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill was recently asked if he might be interested in signing Larsson for current club Aston Villa, but said he had not been in contact with the striker.

The pair will meet again on 13 January when United meet Villa at Old Trafford.

SEE ALSO
Striker Larsson to be given MBE
26 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Celtic's cult heroes
07 May 05 |  Football Focus
Larsson joins Barcelona
30 Jun 04 |  Europe
Larsson's final bow
25 May 04 |  Celtic


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