‘Pogba doesn’t need to leave’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Paul Pogba that he does not need to leave Manchester United to fulfil his ambitions, after the midfielder’s public admission in June that he wanted to quit Old Trafford and seek a new challenge elsewhere, preferably at Real Madrid.
United have yet to receive an offer for Pogba from Real or Juventus, though it is thought the Manchester club could be open to selling the France midfielder if their £160m (R2.7bn) valuation is met.
That figure is so far proving beyond his suitors.
Pogba, whose hopes of a move to Barcelona last season were rebuffed by United, is keen to play in Spain and is thought to harbour concerns about his club’s ability to challenge for the top honours after they finished sixth in the Premier League last season, 32 points adrift of champions Manchester City.
Yet Solskjaer says Pogba can still find everything he is looking for at United, insisting he bears no resentment over his star player’s stance, despite the Frenchman reassuring him months ago he was committed to the club.
“I’ve not been upset by anything he’s said, because we’ve had many conversations and I know exactly what Paul is thinking,” Solskjaer said, in an interview in Perth on the first leg of the club’s preseason tour.
“I can really give him a new challenge.
“I’ve said many times about Paul that he’s a top, top boy and a great player, and he’s never, ever been a problem.
“If we get him playing like he did when I came in again, he will win you over.”
Asked if there were any circumstances in which Pogba might leave, Solskjaer said: “I’ve got to be careful. I can’t dive into all this – hypothetical questions and all that.
“But we’ve not had offers. I can say the same about whichever player.”
There are also doubts over the futures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
Lukaku wants to join Inter Milan, who are reported to be preparing a bid worth at least £60m (R1bn) for the Belgium striker, for whom United will demand as much as £90m (R1.5bn).
“If we sell players we will have to replace them,” Solskjaer said when asked if he would want to replace Lukaku should he go.
Sanchez is not on tour, after being granted three weeks off following his involvement in the Copa America with Chile, but United are open to offers for the 30-year-old, who has scored just five goals in 45 appearances during a calamitous 18 months at the club.
Asked if he was planning on Sanchez being at United for the start of the season in less than four weeks’ time, Solskjaer said: “At the moment, yes I am.”
He carefully considered his answer when asked if he could get the player back to his best.
“I will have to help,” he said. “But you can’t spoon-feed them. They’ve got to come in and grab their chances.
“Alexis is quality and he showed it in Copa America. Then he got his injury.
“I don’t think it’s too bad so I’m hoping he will be available for maybe Kristiansund [on July 30] or AC Milan [four days later] so he will at least get some football before the season starts.”