However Mertens is not moving, and the Old Trafford hierarchy have been warned by Norwich that Pukki was not available under any circumstances, as the bottom-placed seek to stay in the Premier League.
Marcus Rashford’s injury has led to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer striving to bring in a replacement striker in this window, leading to United investigating all manner of avenues. Along with Mertens and Pukki, some of the names they have pursued are Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani, Bournemouth’s Joshua King, Southampton’s Danny Ings, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua’s Odion Ighalo and Dalian Yifang’s Salomon Rondon.
While the emergency nature of Rashford’s injury explains the nature of some of the pursuits, their lateness has also meant that the deals are almost impossible to pull off. A common theme has been clubs – particularly those in the bottom half of the table – refusing to sell because the value of staying up is far higher than a one-off sale for a key player who offers goals.
Goals are what Solskjaer has been looking for, as an extra five to six may be the difference between qualifying for next season’s Champions League and not.
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