ARTICLES Opinion

Paul Pogba: Should he stay or go?

Paul Pogba is a player who causes much debate amongst Manchester United fans and with less than a year remaining on his current deal, he’s proving to be a popular talking point once again.

The Frenchman’s future appears to be up in the air for what feels like the hundredth time in his United career. Nonetheless, the club are now at a crossroads with his contract expiring next summer and talks over a renewal ongoing but with little progress. There also remains the possibility of a departure this summer with Paris Saint-Germain strongly linked.

With no obvious or definitive solution to the situation, this piece will look at analysing the pros and cons of each potential scenario.

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Moving him on?

Reports in recent weeks have suggested PSG’s interest could result in a bid before the window closes. If the links are legitimate and Pogba seriously wishes to leave, United would be smart to encourage a move sooner rather than later and could possibly deploy a Borussia Dortmund-type tactic of a firm deadline for the move to be completed by. This would allow John Murtough and Ole Gunnar Solskjær ample time to bring in the desired targets to replace the club’s no.6.

A Paul Pogba departure may also allow Solskjær to find someone better suited to playing in a double or single pivot. A potential transfer to PSG could also add money to the Norwegian’s transfer kitty which may allow him to bring in not only a replacement midfielder but also someone to compete with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the right-back berth.

However, Pogba’s departure now may leave United in the lurch with a little over three weeks left in the window. This could ultimately mean the club are better off retaining his services unless there’s a firm contingency plan in place.

Keep him this summer… and maybe longer

The next possibility is the World Cup winner remains for the 2021/22 season and instead departs on a free next summer. This would undoubtedly feel like déjà vu for reds after he left for free under Sir Alex Ferguson for Juventus in 2012.

This may feel like a lose-lose to many at the club, but it would allow Solskjær another year of service from a player who would arguably have been player of the tournament at this summer’s European Championships had France not been defeated in the first knockout round. Not to mention, it gives Pogba an opportunity to get a better sense of the club’s direction. With Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, the squad suddenly looks even more talented and capable of challenging for honours.

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Pogba remaining at United this summer could ultimately result in him signing a new deal assuming he’s happy, playing regularly and the club match his ambitions both financially and from a sporting point of view.

With that said, it may not reflect particularly well on anyone at the club if he’s allowed to walk for nothing for a second time. In addition to this, there would also be major question marks over his commitment to the cause throughout the season whenever he’s deemed to have underperformed. 

There would also be an argument for Solskjær to drop him completely if he doesn’t re-sign as he wouldn’t be part of the club’s long-term plan so the manager may feel he has to start preparing for life without him.

Having said that, there is nothing to suggest the Frenchman is unhappy or not fully committed to Manchester United. Just last week Pogba shared a screenshot of himself on FaceTime with international team-mate and new recruit, Raphael Varane and if United’s Twitter following are to be believed, it’s a potential indication of where his future lies.

He’s also played probably the best football of his career under Solskjær and even if such glimpses have been short-lived, he’s proven he’s capable of performing and stepping up. United wouldn’t have even been in a title race in January if it wasn’t for Pogba who scored crucial goals and put in some top displays. It wasn’t until he succumbed to injury that United fell away.

Ultimately, I believe Manchester United should always try to keep their best players and Pogba has proven in glimpses, he’s capable of being exactly that. If Ole Gunnar Solskjær adores him and wants to keep him at the club, the fan base could do a lot worse than get behind him should he sign a new deal. He’s clearly a player who needs to feel the love of those around him and with his manager and the players behind him, the fan’s support could be the final piece in the puzzle of “unlocking” the enigma that is Paul Pogba.

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