Paul Pogba is close to a return for Manchester United, as the French superstar has been out since early November with a thigh injury.
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Pogba, 28, is out of contract at Old Trafford this summer but the option of a new deal at United is still thought to be on the table.
Given United’s limited options in central midfield with Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic and Fred all more defensive-minded, Pogba’s absence has hit them hard at a key part of the season.
Speaking to the media, United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick confirmed that Pogba will be back in early February.
Close to a return
“Paul Pogba had his first day of training with the whole group yesterday and, in the first training session, he showed what kind of extraordinary player he could be,” Rangnick said.
“He will not be available for the two games this week but hopefully after the international break, when we have the Cup game against Middlesbrough and the away game at Burnley, I think he could be an option.”
This is great news for United.
Even if Pogba doesn’t sign a new deal and leaves for free this summer, between now and then it is always good to have him available and he’s missed the last 13 games.
How will this impact United?
In the short-term Pogba can definitely help them finish in the top four and go far in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, and there is also plenty of incentive for him to show other clubs what he can offer.
Of course, many believe he is heading to Real Madrid this summer, or another European heavyweight, and we will find all of that out in due course.
Most of us forget that Pogba has seven Premier League assists in seven starts this season (third-most in the PL) and he was playing really well early in the campaign before he was injured on international duty with France.
In this 4-2-2-2 system that Rangnick likes, Pogba is perfect for one of the two attacking midfield roles. It will be a lot of fun to see him back at United and it should help the team gain more control of games and get back to their best.
Manchester United team news
In other injury news, both Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo are back available after they missed United’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa last week.
Rangnick is cautiously optimistic both will feature at Brentford on Wednesday (watch live, 3pm ET on Peacock Premium) and with Pogba soon to return, it seems like this United side will get a big boost ahead of the Champions League last 16 and a pivotal run of games in February and March.
Harry Maguire is also likely to return to the starting lineup, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be an option at right back and Anthony Martial is also in training after Rangnick previously stated that the Frenchman didn’t want to play as talks continue about his future at the club.