Why Pogba will be staying at Man Utd for at least one more season
When Mino Raiola took aim at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Instagram in February it felt like that was going to set the tone for press conferences and transfer talk until the end of the season.
After what had been another impressive victory against Chelsea, which further boosted Manchester United’s top four hopes, the Norwegian was left fending off questions about Paul Pogba’s agent .
“I don’t need to comment through the media on Mino and what he says. I can probably speak to him myself,” Solskjaer said after the 2-0 win.
“You can’t control it anyway, everyone’s got a voice and you can have your own opinion.
There are things being said about us where you want to comment but you’d rather not and it’s more clever that you don’t comment on many different things.’
“It’s not my rapport and Paul and Mino do have their conversations but it’s fine.”
Pogba’s agent has since claimed he has a good relationship with Solskjaer but had the season not been halted due to Covid-19, it’s likely Raiola would have continued with his statements as that is his favoured way of working as he tries to engineer a move for the midfielder.
Many believed the World Cup winner had played his last game for the club with foot and ankle injuries sidelining him for the majority of the campaign.
But, the suspension of all football due to the coronavirus pandemic means not only will the 27-year-old have a key part to play in the resumption of this Premier League season but he is likely to stay put for another year.
It is no secret the Frenchman is keen for a challenge elsewhere and, in some aspects, who can blame him?
United have struggled to mount a serious title challenge since he returned in 2016 and are still facing the prospect of a second consecutive season without Champions League football.
However, the economic situation following the shutdown means it is highly unlikely he will get the move he so desperately sought this summer. And the silence from his vocal leader Raiola on the subject over the past few months has been telling.
United would have allowed Pogba to leave last summer had a club met their valuation of around £180 million (Sh23b). There is an acceptance that they will have to drastically lower that figure should clubs come enquiring when the market does open this summer.
In reality in a post Covid world who would be able to afford the midfielder’s huge wages and the transfer fee which would still be around £100m (Sh12.8b).
Although the club would have permitted Pogba’s exit there has been a reluctance to let the midfielder go. He’s shown glimpses of his world class talent but has yet to produce consistently game after game.
Because of that, Pogba’s time at Old Trafford has been heavily criticised with claims from former players and pundits that he hasn’t lived up to his potential and there have been damning verdicts of his performances both on and off the pitch.
But circumstances mean United could now have the midfielder at their disposal for the peak years of his career and the World Cup winner has got the opportunity to prove himself as one of the best midfielders in the world.
Pogba’s former teammate Ander Herrera believes the Frenchman has the ability but needs the consistency to be considered world class.
“I don’t know what other players say but he is a midfielder that has everything.
If you see other midfielders in the world, they may have some qualities—control of the ball, long shots, passes, tackles, box-to-box—but Paul can do all of this, plus head the ball, score goals, make recoveries, one against one, everything,” Herrera told The Athletic. - GOAL