It appears that Manchester United are fighting three battles this year, first battle advancement in the Champions League (which they lost on Tuesday), second battle, the Premier League, and the third battle, Paul Pogba and his manager Mino Raiola.
After Raiola spoke publicly this week, declaring that Pogba’s time at United is over, the team must now consider how much they want to fight to keep Pogba and Raiola happy and signed with United. In an interview published the day before United’s biggest match of the season — an eventual loss to RB Leipzig, Raiola was unequivocal about Pogba’s future at United:
“There’s no point beating about the bush. It’s better to speak out clearly, look forward and avoid wasting time to find culprits.”
“Paul is unhappy at Manchester United, he can’t manage to express himself like he wants to and like people expect him to.
“He needs to change team, he needs a change of scenery.
“He has a contract that will expire in a year and a half, in the summer of 2022, but the best solution for all parties is a transfer in the next window.” (Express)
This isn’t the first time Pogba — via Raiola — has threatened to leave United after re-joining from Juventus in 2016. Pogba reportedly wanted a move to Real Madrid after winning the World Cup two years ago but wasn’t granted his wish, with United at the time not willing to consider a sale. United again refused to let him go in the last two summer transfer windows, when he openly expressed interest in a move to Real Madrid, but what was notable is that no serious interest from suitors was evident.
Now it appears that United have had enough with the unhappy relationship and if they do decide to let Pogba leave, the emergence of Bruno Fernandes might just be the final straw that gives Pogba his wish to leave.
Calciomercato claim Fernandes’ play on the pitch and influence in the locker room have convinced United to sell Pogba. As a result, United feel Pogba — and the circus his agent creates — are no longer needed.
Pogba was a notable reserve in the Champions League squad to face RB Leipzig. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained his team selection and decision to leave Pogba on the bench.
“We need a team that’s flexible, a team with legs and we need experience because it’s a big game,”
Post-match, Solskjaer did address the ongoing situation adding:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about Mino Raiola: “As soon as Pogba's agent realises it is a team sport the better. I don’t want to spend energy on that. You have to ask Paul if he is happy or not, I’m not going to speak for him. Paul is focused on doing his best for the team”. #MUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 8, 2020
Needless to say, it will be a very interesting winter and possibly a summer transfer window if United do decide to let Pogba leave. It appears potential moves to Juventus or Real Madrid are on the player’s shortlist, but United have briefed the media on their doubts that either club are a financial position to afford such a deal, even at a relative knockdown price given that Pogba only has 18 months remaining on his contract.