Darren Fletcher could make his return for Manchester United during their pre-season campaign.
The 28-year-old Scottish international midfielder suffers from a chronic bowel disease which has threatened his career.
He has not kicked a ball in anger for the whole of 2013 so far, after his comeback last season lasted just 10 games and ended in December.
But according to the Daily Mirror, Fletcher has recovered sufficiently to set the target of playing for United again, ahead of their Premier League title defence next season.
He still has two years left on his contract with the Red Devils, and his compatriot, United’s new manager David Moyes, would love to count on him in the team’s midfield.
Fletcher’s position at United is one the club has earmarked for strengthening, with Paul Scholes having retired at the end of the last campaign, and Brazilian Anderson struggling to impress.
Everton’s temperamental Belgian, Marouane Fellaini, has consequently been linked to a big-money move to Old Trafford.
But at his best, Fletcher is a ready-made, reliable, dynamic and trusted leader at United, and they will be overjoyed if he defeats his illness to make a pre-season return to action.