It looks like the Paul Pogba show at Old Trafford is over and he will no longer be a Manchester United player at the start of the 2020/21 season. But with only a year to go on his contract will Manchester United be able to recoup the £89.3 million they forked out for the Frenchman and who will be willing to add him to their side?
After signing in 2016, it has been a very strange four years for Paul Pogba. In his first season he won both the League Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho. His second season despite finishing 19 points behind Manchester City, he helped guide Manchester United to 2nd place and to an FA Cup final. Last season he was subject to criticism and used as a scapegoat for Manchester United’s poor start and poor form until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived effectively reviving his United career before another slump towards the end of the season where again he was subject to criticism.
However, injuries this season have stalled Solskjaer’s aims of focussing the team around the World Cup winning Frenchman and he has only featured seven times in the league this year.
It is well known that Solskjaer and the Manchester United board would love to keep Paul Pogba but with his head being turned elsewhere and inflammatory comments from his agent Mino Raiola about the treatment of Pogba there looks like there will be no return for the 2020/21 season.
So, where will Pogba be playing next season? The early suggestion is either a return to Juventus or playing for one of his idols Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. Both seem like viable options and would certainly revive his career as he would be playing for one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Having already proven he can perform in Serie A he might favour a new challenge and prove he can produce the magic on a different stage specifically for Los Blancos. Last summer, it looked for all the world that Pogba would be donning the famous white shirt but nothing materialised.
With Pogba approaching the final year of his contract Manchester United might be more willing to accept a player swap than a lowered transfer fee. With the likes of Aaron Ramsay and Toni Kroos being rumoured as a direct swap for the disillusioned Pogba, United fans would happily take a replacement to play alongside new signing Bruno Fernandes who has hit the ground running.
It has been reported that the only way Pogba is willing to stay is if manager Solskjaer is sacked at the end of the season due to the fact he feels Solskjaer blocked his dream move to Spain. However, there is a sense the Manchester United hierarchy are unlikely to bow to the demands of Pogba, and Raiola, once again to convince him to stay at the club.
The feeling is similar with the fans as well. Many are happy to see him leave if he wants to leave Old Trafford so much. The sense that nobody is bigger than the club is something that Manchester United supporters strongly believe in and Pogba is no exception to the rule especially given his history with the club.
It still looks likely that we will see Pogba again this season with him posting on Instagram a picture of himself with the caption “soon” as United have a big finish to secure Champions League football and possibly clinch both the F.A Cup and Europa League. However, Pogba should not expect a warm reception, despite his ability, due to the frankly mixed messages he and his team have been giving out over the past few months.