Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he had tried in the past to sign Henrik Larsson, who will join Manchester United on loan from Helsingborg on January 1.
The 35-year-old former Barcelona and Celtic forward will come to England to watch United's match against West Ham at Upton Park on December 17 and will then train for a week, go back to Sweden for Christmas and be eligible to play for the Red Devils after January 1.
Ferguson said: "I have always admired him. 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. When you think back to the Champions League final he was the one who won it for Barcelona when he came on.
"He can play wide right, wide left or up front. I am really happy we have got him. I would have liked to have signed him long ago but I knew he wanted to go to Barcelona and then he went home."
Larsson told a press conference at Helsingborg: "It's a very fun thing to contribute at such a late stage in my career.
"Alex Ferguson called me last night and greeted me to Manchester United. We spoke a little about a match and how it looked like with Christmas and the new year.
"They have been after me before - after the first or second season with Celtic. It feels nice to come and play for such a big club.
"I probably won't play every match from the start, but for me it feels like a very fun thing to contribute at such a late stage in my career. My family are okay with it."
Larsson added: "I know the players [at Manchester United]. They are really good players. 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 Ferguson wants 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.
"The length of the contract is neither too long nor too short, so that is perfect. It will be yet another long season - but it is better to be there than to have a long pre-season with Helsingborg."
Ferguson is light on strikers, with Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha supported by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
A fourth forward, Alan Smith, is still recovering full fitness after an injury lay-off - while Giuseppe Rossi is on loan at Newcastle.