Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be set for a coaching role at Manchester United once his playing career finishes, as The Independent understands the prospect has already been discussed in preliminary talks about a potential new contract.

The Swedish international is currently out with a serious knee injury picked up in the Europa League win over Anderlecht in April, with that his last game for the club before his last deal ran out in June.

With Ibrahimovic eager to play again, talks have been staged with United over a new contract, with Jose Mourinho also keen to keep around a player whose influence on the squad he sees as key.

That has also been the thinking behind a possible coaching role once the 35-year-old eventually retires, and that has already been broached in discussions. Club sources say Mourinho sees Ibrahimovic as a similar figure to Didier Drogba, who can offer the squad expertise and experience, but also serve as a bridge between manager and players.