This summer Paul Pogba has made his wish clear to leave Manchester United, and it appears the Red Devils are now working on making it a reality.
Pogba, 26, told reporters at a promotional event in Japan last month that “now could be a good time to find a new challenge.”
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The French World Cup winner has spent the last three seasons at Manchester United following his then world-record $110 million transfer from Juventus in 2016.
Speaking to The Times on Friday, Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has confirmed he is working on behalf of his client and with the club to seal a transfer away from Old Trafford.
“Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of doing that,” Raiola said. “Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are… Everyone within the club, from the manager to the owner, knows Paul’s wishes.”
The timing of this statement makes sense, but quite how far along Raiola is in “the process” of a transfer remains to be seen.
United are heading to the preseason tour of Australia and the Far East on Sunday, and it is clear Pogba doesn’t want to be on that plane. When asked that, Raiola simply added: “I cannot tell you anything. I live day by day.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had given Pogba extra time off and he has yet to return to preseason training at their Carrington base, but the reason given for that was due to Pogba’s heavy workload last summer at the World Cup as his summer break was cut short by then manager Jose Mourinho.
Clearly that isn’t the case and his erratic form for the Red Devils first under Mourinho, and then in the latter months of last season under Solskjaer, prove he just isn’t what United need at the moment. Over the past three seasons he has had severe ups and downs, as United have won the League Cup and Europa League, but have twice finished outside of the Premier League’s top six. Last season was his best-ever in terms of his output, as he led United with 16 goals and 11 assists.
Pogba’s influence in the dressing room is massive and if he wants out there is likely to be a cloud hanging over United’s squad until it happens. Solskjaer has hinted at more transfer deals to be done by United this summer, as so far they’ve added young talents Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a combined cost of $85 million. If Pogba leaves and Romelu Lukaku follows him out of the door, United will need to spend plenty to replace their star quality. That said, their new transfer policy involves buying young, hungry players instead of superstars who are the finished article.
Real Madrid and Juventus have both been linked with a move for Pogba this summer, as the central midfielder is contracted to the club until 2021 and this transfer window represents the best chance for United to recoup the vast majority of the $110 million they paid for him.
With the transfer window shutting for Premier League clubs on Aug. 8, we haven’t heard the last of this one.