Will Paul Pogba stay or will Paul Pogba go? That has been the main question in almost every transfer window in recent memory. One could easily argue if not for COVID-19 he might have already been off to Real Madrid to unite with French legend Zinedine Zidane.
With Paul Pogba’s blockbuster contract ending in June 2022. Time is running out for Manchester United to pen a new deal with their talisman.
Mino Raiola Playing Bad Cop
Football agents are disliked by fans and clubs alike but are a necessary evil in the world of global football. The worst of the worst or by agent standards, the best is Mino Raiola. He famously fought Sir Alex and pulls no punches when trying to get his clients (and himself) paid. When his players move, he gets a significant payday. With a player like Pogba as a client, the more transfers the better. So it is no surprise he has been chirping every single transfer window for Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United.
Usually agents are subtle when talking to the press, but Mino is not shy about directly linking players to other clubs.
Pogba feels at home in Italy. Italy is like his second home. … That’s why Paul would like to come back to JuventusMino Raiola (February 2020)
He also doesn’t mind having a go at Ole Gunner Solskjaer himself. Look at this tweetstorm after Ole’s press conference pushing back on Mino Raiola comments.
Let me remind you all this chatter comes during the season. Can you imagine trying to manage a dressing room with this level of distraction around your star player?
“I can say that it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United”Mino Raiola (December 2020)
This latest gem came in an interview with Tuttosport, just days before Manchester United kicked off against RB Leipzig in their final must-win game in the Champions League. All the European press was talking about before kick-off was Paul Pogba leaving Manchester United. The match resulted in a bad start from Manchester United’s defense and the team crashing out of the Champions League.
Do I think the comments by Raiola impacted the overall team’s performance? Probably not, but was Pogba on the bench because of those comments? Yes.
The question to ask is: If Mino speaks for Pogba and he does not mind his agent making these comments before a huge game for Manchester United, and these comments ultimately result in his benching, then how desperate is he to leave Manchester United?
The answer: Very
But Paul Pogba Is Not His Agent
Paul Pogba is not Mino Raiola, so in some ways, his agent could be speaking out of line. I do partially agree with this. The timing of Mino’s comments and exact content is most likely not approved by Pogba himself, but the goal of a move out of Manchester United is. There is no way Raiola could say the following without getting consent from his client.
“He needs to change team, he needs a change of scene. He has a contract that expires in a year and a half’s time, in the summer of 2022, but I think the best solution would be for him to leave in the next transfer window.
“Otherwise the club from Old Trafford, with whom he has a good relationship, know very well that they risk losing him on a free transfer, considering that right now he does not want to extend his deal.Mino Riola (December 2020)
That is as black and white as it gets. He wants to leave ASAP (next window) and Manchester United better sell because he will leave on a free transfer (Eddy ya listening!?). If that wasn’t clear enough, he also will not extend his deal. This could be put on a billboard in Manchester it is so clear. Pogba has told his agent what he wants and Raiola is trying to get it.
But Mino Raiola Has Been Quiet Recently
The silence from Mino on his client Paul Pogba has only been ~3 months, which in all honesty feels like 3 years to us fans. If I was going to speculate, I think the comments before the RB Leipzig game were judged to be too much by Pogba. The timing of the comments, his benching, and the result of the match probably didn’t sit well. I imagine after things came to a head with the RB Leipzig match, there was a meeting of the minds (Ole, Woodward, Pogba, Raiola). The result could have been, keep your agent quiet for the sake of the team and we will agree to move you on in the upcoming summer window. Just ask yourself, what in the world could keep Mino Raiola quiet for this long? The only answer is – money, money, money.
But Paul Pogba Is Just Posturing For A New Manchester United Deal
We haven’t heard anything regarding a new contract from Paul Pogba’s camp or Manchester United. For a deal that big to not have already started negotiation, especially with Euro 2021 this summer, is a sign most likely it will not materialize. Also, just look at Mino’s comments above? Attacking Ole, saying he won’t sign a deal, if true, that would be one hell of a negotiating tactic.
The Latest On The Paul Pogba Saga
When it comes to transfer rumors, Fabrizio Romano is bulletproof. His latest quotes on Paul Pogba suggest as Mino said, that a move away in the summer is most likely. In January, he reiterated that Paul Pogba is planning to move to another club in the summer.
Yesterday he mentioned that if Ronaldo were to leave Juventus, a Paul Pogba return could be on the cards.
Sorting through transfer speculation is more art than science. If Paul Pogba is going to leave Manchester United it comes down to if there is a buyer and if they will be willing to meet a price Manchester United will accept. Given there is one year left on his deal, Manchester United does not have a ton of leverage and this will make Manchester United more inclined to sell.
There will be plenty of clubs with interest in the Frenchman’s services for £40-£50M. We all know how Ed Woodward likes to drive a hard bargain so anything is possible. He could stay due to Eddy’s stubbornness but given Manchester United’s recent cash crunch it will be hard for them to turn down a payday from a Pogba sale. Unfortunately, all these factors point to Paul Pogba exiting Old Trafford for a second time.
To read about how Manchester United could make him stay check out The Unofficial Guide to Keeping Paul Pogba