Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a future at Manchester United despite his limited involvement since coming back from a knee injury, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

The 36-year-old spent seven months out of the game due to knee ligament damage suffered in the Europa League in April, but made his miraculous comeback in November.

Ibrahimovic was initially released by United as he begun his rehabilitation, but has signed a short-term deal until the end of the season.

However, the former Juventus and Barcelona forward has failed to make the impact desired, contributing seven appearances in all, including just one start in the Premier League.

Sweden's all-time record goalscorer is now "unhappy with his condition" and has missed the last three games, with a return to training not pencilled in until the end of January at the earliest.

Reports last week linked Ibrahimovic with a move to a club in Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League in February due to his failure to make a significant impact on his return.

And United are seemingly preparing for life after the man who scored 28 goals for them last season by lining up a move for Alexis Sanchez, whose future at Arsenal will be settled in the next 48 hours.

However, 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."

Upon rejoining United in August, Ibrahimovic signed a one-year deal and took a £200,000-a-week pay cut in the process, bringing his current earnings to just £125,000-a-week and £6.5m over the duration of the deal (The Times).

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