Pirates are on the lookout for a central defender and Awal, who has been in fine form for United and has made it into Ghana's provisional squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, appears to be their target.
Zambian midfielder Rainford Kalaba has also been linked with a move from TP Mazembe to join Bucs.
According to a source at Pirates, the club has already engaged both United and the player in bid to sign him.
"Kalaba and Awal remain our targets during this transfer window. The player is keen to join Pirates but it all will depend on whether Maritzburg United agree to release him during the January transfer window," the source says.
United boss Farook Kadodia sounded cagey when asked about the chances of the player joining Pirates in January.
"I can't comment. Why don't you call Pirates? Please call Pirates," Kadodia said.