Pogba, 26, has not played for United since the 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Old Trafford on the 30th September and is believed to be seeking a move to Real Madrid, where head coach Zinedine Zidane has ‘not just love, but pure obsession’ for the player, according to reports from Spain.
It has even been claimed in both the Spanish and English press that Pogba has been faking the injury because he does not want to play for United again, forcing the player to respond by posting photos of his treated ankle on Instagram. Solksjaer, too, has moved to quell rumours of the Frenchman’s dissatisfaction, insisting that he is happy at Old Trafford.
However, a recent report in the Independent claims that despite Solskjaer’s public support for the player, privately he has grown ‘as irritated with the carry-on as anyone else’ and that ‘there is a belief Solskjaer would gladly sell Pogba in January, in the process freeing up a deep well of recruitment funds.’
On the surface of it, it would seem unthinkable that a club already desperately short of midfield options, having not replaced Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in the summer, would sell its star midfielder halfway through the season. Yet The Sun’s Neil Custis also believes that Solksjaer’s best option would be to move the player on. The reporter argues that Solskjaer needs to build his team around players who are committed to the club, such as Scott McTominay. ‘Solskjaer defends [Pogba] publicly but you wonder if he has washed his hands of him, as he had with Lukaku and Sanchez.’ Custis writes. ‘My guess is we may not see Pogba in a United shirt again.’
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) December 6, 2019
Whether Pogba does leave in the January window will depend both on how much Real Madrid, or Juventus, who also want to sign their former player, are willing to pay, and whether United can secure the signing of a quality player to bolster the midfield. In terms of the former, United will probably have to lower the asking price from £120 million to somewhere between £50 and £80 million, something that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will be very reluctant to do. In terms of the latter, either Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes or Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen represent the most likely options.