Pogba’s new deal would end interest in Grealish
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.