Roma have held talks with Manchester United about the prospect of taking Alexis Sanchez on loan next season, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signalled his faith in Anthony Martial as a centre-forward by handing the France striker the No 9 shirt for this season.

Solskjaer expressed confidence on Friday that United will not struggle for goals, despite the departure of Romelu Lukaku for Inter Milan, but Sanchez’s role in the attack remains uncertain with just over three weeks until the close of the Italian, Spanish, German and French transfer windows on September 2.

Solskjaer said that he expects Sanchez to stay with United this season, but Roma are thought to have been given the opportunity to take the player on a season-long loan.

It is unclear if Sanchez would be open to the move, but any loan arrangement – while far from certain – would likely involve United having to subsidise a substantial part of the striker’s £391,000-a-week wages, which increase to around £500,000 a week with bonuses.