The Argentine ace has missed City's past five fixtures because of a hamstring injury but is expected to be fit for Sunday's top-of-the-table clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
The proposed return comes at the perfect time for City as they trail the league-leading Reds by four points while having two games in hand.
"It's a good time for Sergio to come back. I can see why people say it's similar to Tevez returning - although it's a different situation," Zabaleta said of his fellow Argentine.
"Like with Carlos, it's great for any team to have the best players back again - particularly at this part of the season. That's the good news for us.
"He is an important player and he is going to score goals. He is fast, he is quick. Sometimes we need a player like Sergio."
He added: "Have we missed him? Yes of course.
"You always want the best players to be in the team and fit for any game at this time of the season."
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