Larsson to move to Manchester United
Paul O'Mahony · 1 Dec 2006, 11:59
Published: 01 Dec 2006 11:59 GMT+01:00
Larsson told a press conference on Friday lunchtime that he had spoken to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
“He called me yesterday evening evening actually and welcomed me to Manchester United. We talked a little bit about one match and how things were looking around Christmas and the New Year," Larsson said.
"The way it looks now I will go over there on 12 December but celebrate Christmas and the New Year in Sweden, then back to England."
Asked whether he would be a back-up player, Larsson replied: “I will be going over to play as much as possible but I have no idea how Ferguson wants to use me.
"We will have to see how much playing time it amounts to. Back-up? Yes, for starters. Then I’ll just have to see how much I can contribute and how it turns out."
Helsingborg chairman Sten-Inge Fredin said he didn't think Larsson would be spending too long on the bench.
”I don’t think he’s going over ther just to stand in the wings. Then it depends how things go for the team and how it goes for Henrik. I really don’t think he will just be used for back-up."
This is not the first time Larsson has been approached by United.
“I think it was after my first or second season with Celtic. It feels great to go and play with such a big club.
"I am probably not going to get to start every match, but for me it feels great to be involved so late in my career. My family was OK with it, so that left me with no doubts."
Larsson said he was "certain" he would only stay at United until March 12th.
Fredin added: “If they had asked for a longer period we would have said no. I think we share that view."
“That’s correct," said Larsson.
”I would never have done this if I didn’t feel I was up to it."
"I have actually seen them quite a lot," he continued.
"I have always watched them. I know about the players, they are really good players. Ihave played against a lot of them so it’s not completely new. Hopefully it will make the situation easier that I recognise their names and faces."
Helsingborg coach, Englishman Stuart Baxter, said he was pleased with the deal:
“Ten weeks with Manchester United is the best preparation he could have for the new season in Sweden. It’s win-win I think."
Fredin told the same press conference that United's interest had been unexpected.
“A few weeks ago we received a query that surprised us all. One of the world’s biggest football clubs asked to take on Henrik Larsson,” he said.
”The first contact was made of course by Manchester United, who asked if there was any possibility at all of loaning Henrik. I suppose we thought that they could come over and discuss the matter without any preconditions. After that Henrik was positive and we negotiated.
”First and foremost it is an incredible honour, both for Helsingborgs IF and Henrik, that a club like Manchester United wants to take him on.
“Henrik will get another to go out and feel the heat of action. But hopefully he will have time to play in the Royal League final.
“Everything has been finalised with he associations, both Swedish and English. We will get it confirmed in writing.
“There is of course an economic aspect both for Helsingborg and Henrik and, hopefully, Manchester United but we are not releasing any figures. We are happy."
”The best bit is that we get a world class player coming home two seasons in a row."
At the end of last season Larsson, 35, returned home to play with Helsingborg after a successful spell at Barcelona.
Despite his age Larsson banged in goals on a regular basis whenever drafted in to replace the Spanish club’s more youthful forwards.
And now it seems Larsson is headed for Old Trafford. English giants Manchester United are a bit thin on strikers this season. Now that Louis Saha, has been hit by injury Alex Ferguson has decided to sign up Larsson for a loan period.
Ferguson has long been a fan of the Swede and tried to sign him back in his Celtic days.
It is expected that Larsson will be off to Manchester as soon as the transfer window reopens on 1 January. But the solution is a temporary one and Larsson will be back in Helsingborg at the end of March, just in time for the start of the new season in Sweden.