- Why Pogba will be staying at Man Utd for at least one more season15:48 | 09/06/2020
At one stage it looked like the France midfielder had played his last game for the 20-time English champions but times have changed since Covid-19.
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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 (€204m/$230m). 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 (€114m/$128m).
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 .
“But of course, if you want to become the best midfielder in the world, it is about consistency. You have to do it day in, day out. He is a good guy. He wants to do it. He does train well. He has to do it every day.”
And the changes to Solskjaer’s team could allow him to do that.
The arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January and the subsequent revival of United should give Pogba the freedom he has been lacking at times and also release some of the burden of pressure that’s been placed on him to be United’s star man . For too long there has been expectancy and pressure on the midfielder to save the team but Fernandes has come in and changed that.
Mentally the midfielder will need to accept the reality of at least another season at Old Trafford and his behaviour and levels in training since the team have returned in the past few weeks cannot be questioned. He has impressed his teammates and Solskjaer is hopeful he will be fit for the game against Spurs on June 19.
Pogba will no doubt get the move he wants at some point in the future but for now, the pandemic has given him a second chance to choose the ending to his time at Old Trafford. It’s over to him to write the narrative.
Source – Goal.com
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