LA Galaxy are close to completing the signing of Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic The recent signing of Alexis Sanchez will make it all the more difficult for the Swede to make regular appearances in the starting XI, leading to talk about a move out of Old Trafford.

ESPN reports that the MLS club were interested in signing Ibrahimovic in the summer but a deal fell through after the Swede suffered a knee injury in April 2017. The striker has since recovered from the long-standing injury and even played a part this campaign, making seven league and cup appearances. before suffering another setback. However, he is expected to be back in training next week which would allow the deal to move forward.

Sources close to ESPN add that a deal between Galaxy and Ibrahimovic is "the furthest along it has ever been". The American and Chinese transfer windows are open in February, which means that the veteran striker could leave the club before the season is out, as Bastian Schweinsteiger did last season with his move to Chicago Fire.

United, should they allow Ibrahimovic to leave midway through the season, have options aplenty to fill the void and alleviate the pressure on Romelu Lukaku, who has struggled to come to terms with the number of games that he has had to start. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are both capable of playing through the middle, despite having shared duties on the left of attack this season.

Rashford has given a handful of opportunities to lead the line on his own in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, with Martial showing promise playing up alongside Lukaku in matches where Mourinho has opted for a 3-5-2 formation. However, despite the speculation, Jose Mourinho has denied that Ibrahimovic's career at United is all but over and says he can be "useful" as the club fight on three fronts this season.

"Zlatan knows that, at the highest level, he is in the last part of his career," said Mourinho, according to Sky Sports. "But his dream, his desire, his fight was always to end his career at Manchester United, being useful for me, being useful for the team. That I think he can [achieve].

"He just needs to feel really happy with his knee, with his condition, and that I think he can.

"As a leader in the dressing room, as a leader on the pitch – he is a quality player on the pitch, he can do that and I think he deserves that. I am here also to try and help him do that."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic has made seven appearances sign re-joining United in August. Getty Images