Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero is looking to leave Old Trafford in the January transfer window as he bids to cement his place between the sticks for Argentina ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer.

Romero has had to make do with an understudy role at a number of clubs during his career and has played second fiddle to the spellbinding David de Gea since joining United from Sampdoria three seasons ago.

United boss Mourinho trusted Romero with a starting spot during his side's successful Europa League campaign last season and has afforded him five matches in all competitions this season, including two in the Champions League.

But the Argentine has not seen a minute of action in the Premier League this season, with his place in La Albiceleste's squad under threat as a result. Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has informed his players that they must be playing regular football in order to be one of his chosen 23, but United will not sanction a move for Romero until they have an adequate replacement lined up, according to the Independent.

Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his ranks during the January transfer window despite spending around £300m in 18 months, but the Portuguese presumably did not have a replacement for Romero in mind when he drew up his winter transfer plans.

United do have the highly-rated Joel Pereira as third-choice goalkeeper, but it is not known if Mourinho is ready to put his faith in the Portuguese youth international, though he has afforded youngsters Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe and of course Marcus Rashford substantial game-time in recent months.

Romero would be content with a loan move away from Old Trafford if it meant he would feature regularly between now and the World Cup, which Argentina made an almighty hash of qualifying for, but for the time being his focus rests on United's upcoming FA Cup third round clash with Derby County on Friday (5 January), a fixture he will likely play in.

Sergio Romero
Romero is desperate for game-time ahead of the World Cup Getty Images