Paul Pogba’s commitment to Manchester United’s cause has been questioned by Gary Neville, who thinks “something is going on behind the scenes”.
At the end of last season, Pogba expressed a desire to undertake a new challenge away from Old Trafford amid interest from Real Madrid and Juventus.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ultimately convinced the France international to stay for the first half of the 2019-20 campaign, but fresh speculation over his future is swirling ahead of the January transfer window.
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Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola claims that United blocked his client’s exit over the summer, as he told the Telegraph : “There was an interest from Real Madrid but they didn’t let him go and I’m sorry, because I think that Paul being French then Zidane is an important factor in French football history.”
Raiola has also stated that there is no chance of Pogba leaving Manchester in the New Year, a stance which was reiterated by Solskjaer l ast week.
The 26-year-old returned to action after over two months on the sidelines through injury when United travelled to Vicarage Road to face Watford on Sunday.
Pogba came on as a second-half substitute during the Red Devils’ shock 2-0 defeat, and managed to inject a much-needed creative spark into the midfield – albeit too late in the day to spare the visitors any blushes.
Prior to the match, Neville addressed Raiola’s comments on Pogba, insisting a prized United asset “needs to settle down at the club, or he needs to leave”.
“We know he [Pogba] will score goals and get assists, but every week single week Solskjaer is fielding questions about his future, so he needs to settle down at the club, or he needs to leave,” the former United defender told Sky Sports .
“The team has developed without him. They need players who want to be at the club. His agent [Mino Raiola] has spoken again this week.
“I think Solskjaer is playing a clever game right now, or he desperately wants him to stay. If he came out and said ‘No, Pogba does not have a future here’ then it would depreciate the price heavily.
“So I think he’s saying Pogba has a future here, but I can’t believe there isn’t something going on behind the scenes, especially when you hear the agent’s comments this week.
“Every inclination I get from the situation is that he wants to play football for someone else. My view would be that Manchester United would be better off without that if that’s the case.
“I think there will be clubs interested. He gets goals, assists and he is a player. He is Manchester United’s best player but does he want to play for the club?”
The Red Devils slipped to eighth in the Premier League table as a result of their latest defeat and lost ground on fourth-placed Chelsea, who recorded a 2-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday.
Pogba will be back in contention for a place in Solskjaer’s line-up when Newcastle arrive at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
The Red Devils have an away fixture against Burnley scheduled two days later, before they wrap up their festive period with a clash against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day.