LONDON • Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be forced to look for a short-term fix in the transfer market this month to compensate for the loss of Marcus Rashford for at least six weeks.
The England forward suffered a stress fracture in his back after coming off the bench in their 1-0 FA Cup third-round replay win against Wolves last Wednesday.
Speaking after United's 2-0 Premier League defeat by Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, Solskjaer said Rashford's absence, together with long-term absentees Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, may force the club to consider loan deals before the window closes on Jan 31.
"The permanent signings we are looking for, those targets are not going to change because we've got players injured for the next two or three months," he said. "But there might be some short-term deals we have to do."
However, pundit Gary Neville believes his former club "need five or six players, not just one or two".
"Look, it's very difficult to recruit in January," he said on the Gary Neville Podcast. "Rashford is out for potentially two or three months so they're going to be light up front. You look at the midfield, it's bleak.
"It's a squad that's had hundreds of millions spent on it, but it looks like it needs hundreds of millions more. That's worrying."
While the Red Devils have been strongly linked with a move for Sporting Lisbon's Bruno Fernandes, that move appears to have stalled because both clubs remain far apart in their valuation of the Portugal midfielder.
United are reportedly unwilling to pay his €80 million (S$119.5 million) asking price, although talks are continuing.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani could also be another target as his contract expires in the summer and he has informed the French champions of his desire to leave by the end of this month.
Atletico Madrid are reported to be in contention to secure his services.
Rashford's absence is a huge blow to United's hopes of challenging for a top-four finish in the top flight as well as progression in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
He has netted 19 times in all competitions this season - a career-best tally - and is not expected back until after the March international break.
"He's suffered a bad injury," added Solskjaer, whose side sit fifth in the table, five points off the top four. "It will probably be six weeks before you can get going and then he's got to get match fit."
It is also another concern for England manager Gareth Southgate, with Euro 2020 on the horizon.
The Three Lions already have a question mark over captain Harry Kane, who suffered a hamstring tear while playing for Tottenham, and will be sidelined until at least April.