Manchester United prepared to let Paul Pogba leave on free transfer

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Manchester United's Paul Pogba leaves the pitch after being shown a red card during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. - AP
Manchester United's Paul Pogba leaves the pitch after being shown a red card during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. - AP

Manchester United will not sell Paul Pogba in January and are fully prepared for the midfielder to leave at the end of the season for free when his contract expires.

A senior club source said he “did not see why we would consider” trying to sell Pogba midway through the campaign even though it would mean they could recoup some of the £89million they spent to sign him in 2016.

In a reference to Pogba’s representative, Mino Raiola, the source added that United were always aware when they entered into the deal that “some agents like free transfers and we are always open-eyed about that”.

Pogba, of course, left United in the first place in 2012 when he allowed his contract to run down before joining Juventus with the club awarded just £800,000 in youth development compensation.

When Pogba signed his five-year deal United factored in that it may, actually, be the only contract he signs at the club. They have made several attempts to discuss a new contract but talks have not progressed and they are now said to be relaxed about the situation.

The source said that there could still be a “twist” before the season ends, suggesting Pogba may agree new terms, but it appears that the 28-year-old will not stay.

Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have previously expressed interest in Pogba but are highly unlikely to make an offer in January knowing that he is available for free next summer and with the World Cup winner’s wage demands to factor in.

Raiola would effectively be able to negotiate for the bulk of the transfer fee that would have been paid in normal circumstances to be added to Pogba’s salary.

However they could, within the rules, negotiate a pre-contract agreement in January given he is in the final year of his contract and given none of them are Premier League clubs and Pogba would be moving overseas.

United believe they are under no financial pressure to sell Pogba in January, feeling that they are better employed keeping him as a squad member until next summer while they line up his eventual replacement.

United have privately expected this outcome since the close season when Pogba and his representative effectively turned down the club’s last offer of a new contract.

Talks have been on-going for two years but United have long since accepted that Pogba had no real intention of signing a new deal. Matters are further complicated because of the uncertainty of the future of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who is fighting to save his job.

Pogba reacted angrily on Wednesday to suggestions that he had “snubbed” Solskjaer in the aftermath of the traumatic 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool. But Pogba’s performance, and the red card he received after just 15 minutes of coming on as a substitute, which means he is suspended for the next three league games against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Watford, have added to the feeling that his time with United is nearing a natural conclusion. Pogba has been dropped to the bench for United’s past two matches.

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