Pogba’s new deal would end in­ter­est in Gre­al­ish

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Premier League - By James Ducker NORTH­ERN FOOT­BALL CORRESPOND­ENT

Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer is hope­ful Paul Pogba will sign a new con­tract with Manch­ester United, with Jack Gre­al­ish’s prospects of a move to Old Traf­ford fad­ing.

Gre­al­ish, the As­ton Villa play­maker who is due to face United at Villa Park this evening, had been iden­ti­fied as a lead­ing mid­field tar­get in the event Pogba left this sum­mer. But United are in­creas­ingly op­ti­mistic about the prospects of Pogba re­main­ing at the club and Sol­sk­jaer is likely to pri­ori­tise strength­en­ing other ar­eas of his team over the mid­field in the trans­fer win­dow.

The United man­ager is par­tic­u­larly keen to add a right-sided for­ward, with Borus­sia Dort­mund winger Jadon San­cho his pri­mary tar­get, but he is also in the mar­ket for a striker and a cen­tre-back.

“I can’t com­ment on dis­cus­sions be­tween player and the club but, of course, we want to keep the best play­ers around the club,” Sol­sk­jaer said when asked about the prospect of Pogba sign­ing a new con­tract.

“We want to build a squad for the fu­ture and Scott [McTom­i­nay] and Ne­manja [Matic] are in a sim­i­lar [play­ing] po­si­tion but at dif­fer­ent stages in their ca­reers – one at the start, one re­ally ex­pe­ri­enced.

“We also need play­ers in the midrange group. Hope­fully we can do some­thing. I know that since Paul’s come back he’s look­ing bet­ter and bet­ter. He’s en­joy­ing his foot­ball and let’s see where it takes us.”

Sol­sk­jaer had been mak­ing plans in the event Pogba left but, with the French­man al­ready flour­ish­ing along­side Jan­uary sign­ing Bruno Fer­nan­des, McTom­i­nay and Matic both com­mit­ting to new deals in the past fort­night or so and Fred show­ing clear signs of im­prove­ment, the man­ager is thought to be sat­is­fied with his mid­field op­tions.

As such, it has re­duced the chances of United mak­ing a move for Gre­al­ish, who has also been linked with Manch­ester City and is ex­pected to leave Villa in the event the club are rel­e­gated from the Pre­mier League this sea­son.

Sol­sk­jaer’s pri­or­ity is San­cho, although United have made it clear they will not be held to ran­som, with Dort­mund thought to be hold­ing out for at least £90 mil­lion af­ter ini­tially putting a £115 mil­lion price tag on the 20-year-old.

Sol­sk­jaer was heard telling Nathan Ake that he needed a left­footed cen­tre-back, and to “keep go­ing” af­ter United’s 5-2 win over Bournemout­h. Sol­sk­jaer brushed it off but with United seek­ing buy­ers for Chris Smalling, Mar­cos Rojo and Phil Jones, the man­ager has a cen­tre-back in his sights.

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