KARL Robinson would not be drawn on reports linking Oxford United with a sensational move for Jermain Defoe.

The U’s are one of several clubs thought to be interested in the former England striker, who is a free agent after leaving Rangers this month.

As reported elsewhere, the Oxford Mail understands the U’s are in the race to sign the 39-year-old until the end of the season.

United head coach Robinson declined to speak on the matter, only saying: “With Jermain, that’s something that we’re not going to comment on.

“I’ve always been quite open with what we’re trying to do, because the market has been so vast and varied that you know you’re quite comfortable mentioning things.

“Sometimes I say things for effect to hide situations, but in this situation I don’t think it’s right that we comment on what we’re trying to do.”

Sky Bet League One rivals Sunderland, Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town have also been linked with Defoe, who scored 20 goals in 57 games for England and went to the 2010 World Cup.

The veteran is the latest player linked to United this month, with two-time loanee Marcus Browne and former target Stuart Findlay among others who have been rumoured.

Read also: Comparing Oxford United's January window so far to previous years

The U’s are yet to make their first signing of the January transfer window, with deadline day a week and a half away.

Robinson reiterated that United are doing all they can to bolster the squad, adding that he is holding ‘two or three Zooms a day’ with the club’s shareholders in the Far East.

He said: “Dealing with Asia, you’re doing things really late but they’re awake by the time you wake up and you can start again.

“From 6am until 9am we’re doing a lot, then from 4pm you’re going right the way through until midnight sometimes – making phone calls, watching games, going to meet people.”

The U’s boss added: “There’s one or two players that hold a big key for what we do, because of the versatility they may bring.

“Without that you need specialists in certain positions and need two (players) rather than one.

“The recruitment team here is working round the clock.

“One of the staff had to go for a walk last night because he’d been on his computer since 6 o’clock in the morning and it was 9 o’clock at night. That’s the amount of man hours that are going in.

“I was at a meeting yesterday in London, so there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to strengthen us.

“We’re not one of these big teams, we will lose contact at some stage if we don’t do something sooner rather than later."