(Reuters) - Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ruled out selling midfielder Paul Pogba in January and denied media reports that the club are in talks with Salzburg striker Erling Haaland over a possible transfer.
France international Pogba has made six appearances for United this season and none since Sept. 30 due to an ankle injury.
He has returned to training after an illness and Solskjaer is hoping the 26-year-old will be back in action before the end of the year.
“No, (Pogba) is not getting sold in January,” the Norwegian told a news conference on Friday. “I hope (he can play again this year). Let’s see how he feels. I’m not going to push him ... we need him to be 100% fit. I can’t risk any setbacks.
“Paul has been fantastic when he has played for us. We know we’ve got one of the best players in the world ... He needs time to get fit, but he will make a difference for us.”
United have been linked with a January move for Solskjaer’s 19-year-old compatriot Haaland, who has scored 24 goals in 20 league and Champions League appearances for Austrian side Salzburg this season.
The speculation intensified on Friday after media reports that Haaland, who played under Solskjaer when he was in charge of Norwegian club Molde, was on a flight to Manchester but the United boss gave short shrift to the idea.
“I don’t think he’s en route here, to be fair,” Solskjaer said. “I know the boy and I know his friends and he’s on a Christmas holiday. You can’t fly anywhere from Stavanger (in Norway).
“I can’t comment on other teams’ players. I’ve said that many times and that’s just one of those things that in this job you get. So much speculation all the time.”
Solskjaer did admit, however, that United, who are sixth in the table ahead of Sunday’s against basement-side Watford, are in the market for January reinforcements.
“We are hopeful of signing someone,” he said. “You always hope but it’s not nailed on. It has to be the right player, right age, going to fit into this squad and for the right value so we’re always looking.”
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.