Solskjaer says talks 'ongoing' over new Pogba deal
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Manchester United appear to be fighting a losing battle in their efforts to keep Paul Pogba at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future. The Frenchman will be out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with moves to Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in recent months.
Pogba has played a crucial role in the engine room for United since rejoining the club from Juventus back in 2016.
The midfielder is enjoying a strong start to the new Premier League campaign after racking up seven assists from as many appearances in the competition.
However, his immediate future is still up in the air as a handful of top European clubs weigh up a potential free transfer ahead of next season.
Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has reportedly offered the Frenchman’s services to Real Madrid as he seeks what could be the final big-money contract of his career.
If he eventually decides to leave Old Trafford in favour of the Bernabeu, it could deliver a huge blow to United’s hopes of challenging the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for major silverware over the next few years.
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The superior depth of the aforementioned pair means they can afford to lose a first-choice midfielder while staying relatively competitive, whereas United may not be as fortunate.
Liverpool saw Georginio Wijnaldum depart Anfield over the summer on a free transfer after failing to extend his previous contract on Merseyside.
The Dutchman was a hugely influential member of the club’s midfield trio but was not replaced before the end of the window.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side have managed to thrive in Wijnaldum’s absence, with Curtis Jones stepping up to the plate and Thiago Alcantara finding his feet after a muted first season under the German boss.
The difference is that United do not have enough quality in their midfield ranks to justify letting Pogba leave without splashing the cash on a top-class alternative.
Donny van de Beek has proven ineffective in the deep-lying role that Pogba often assumes, although the Frenchman has mainly been deployed on the left wing as of late.
The former has been linked with a move away from United as a result of his failure to make an impact at Old Trafford and it seems as though his days are numbered under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils will instead be forced to sign a new midfielder next summer in order to properly replace Pogba if he joins Real Madrid.
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A number of high-profile stars, including the likes of Declan Rice and Youri Tielemans, have been tipped to succeed Pogba in the event of an impending exit.
However, the entire situation can be avoided if he can be convinced to sign a new deal before January, the point at which he will be able to negotiate directly with foreign clubs as things stand.
Pogba is simply too important for United to lose without receiving a fee for his services, while the subsequent need to bring in a suitable top-level replacement will undoubtedly cause its own problems.
It remains to be seen how the situation will play out between now and the end of the season, with Solskjaer likely to be keen on retaining the midfielder for as long as possible.
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