Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By SA­MUEL LUCK­HURST

PAUL Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola in­sists the mid­fielder wants to win sil­ver­ware at United – but is ‘sorry’ he did not move him to Real Madrid in the sum­mer.

Pogba de­clared his de­sire for a ‘new chal­lenge’ in June and Raiola also said he was ‘in the process’ of en­gi­neer­ing a trans­fer to Madrid that never ma­te­ri­alised.

United val­ued Pogba at around £180m and Raiola says the reap­point­ment of Zine­dine Zi­dane as Real coach in March was a key factor in Pogba’s in­ter­est in mov­ing.

“Paul wants to be suc­cess­ful and happy and wants to win prizes, and he would love to do that with Manch­ester United,” Raiola told The Telegraph. “Okay, there was big in­ter­est from Real Madrid and Manch­ester didn’t let him go. We didn’t make a fuss about it and he didn’t make a fuss about it be­cause I work in ac­cor­dance with the player.

“There was an in­ter­est from Real Madrid but they didn’t let him go and I’m sorry.”

Reds boss Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer clar­i­fied yes­ter­day Pogba, who has not played for more than 11 weeks due to an an­kle in­jury, would not be sold in Jan­uary.

“He’s train­ing, but he’s not been train­ing with us for long. I’m not go­ing to push him, of course. What he feels, his an­kle, we need him to be 100 per cent fit. I can’t risk any set­backs on in­jury. There are all these hy­po­thet­i­cals, I’ve just an­swered – he’s not go­ing to go.”

OLE Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer is hope­ful United will re­in­force their squad in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow and says there is a chance some play­ers could leave.

Nor­we­gian out­lets have re­ported United tar­get Er­ling Haa­land, 19, boarded a flight from Sta­vanger Air­port

bound for Manch­ester on Fri­day morn­ing, a week af­ter Sol­sk­jaer flew to Aus­tria to visit the player’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Haa­land sup­pos­edly touched down at 10.15am and the news emerged min­utes be­fore Sol­sk­jaer’s pre-match press con­fer­ence. “I don’t think he’s en route here, to be fair,” Sol­sk­jaer said af­ter a chuckle.

In a sep­a­rate an­swer, Sol­sk­jaer re­it­er­ated United were open to do­ing busi­ness in the New Year. “Yeah, as a man­ager you al­ways hope that you can do some­thing, but then again it’s not some­thing that’s nailed on. It has to be the right player, the right age, go­ing to fit into this squad and for the right value.

“We’re al­ways look­ing and the trans­fer win­dow is open but it might not hap­pen.

“We’re get­ting play­ers back, we’re get­ting Paul (Pogba), Diogo (Dalot), Eric (Bailly), Tim (Fosu-Men­sah) back, so that’s four ex­tra bod­ies back for us in the com­ing months.

“Diogo is play­ing tonight in the game for the young­sters (against AC Milan), from then on he’s ready. Eric, Tim and Paul prob­a­bly need a lit­tle more time.

“Ne­manja (Matic) is back and Paul’s com­ing back, so of course we’re not as light as we were, say a month ago. So I can’t say yes or no but we’re look­ing stronger like when we started the sea­son.”

Bailly’s re­turn and the fit-again Mar­cos Rojo could push Phil Jones fur­ther down the cen­tral de­fen­sive peck­ing or­der and he has started only four times this term.

Jones, 27, did not fea­ture in ei­ther of the re­cent mid­week home cup ties against AZ Alk­maar and Colch­ester United.

Tahith Chong and An­gel Gomes are free to ne­go­ti­ate with over­seas clubs next month since they are out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son.

“There’s al­ways a chance of it,” Sol­sk­jaer said of mid-sea­son de­par­tures.

“And I can say with 99.9 per cent sure they won’t go, but there is al­ways a chance teams will be in­ter­ested in some of ours, maybe they’re not happy, haven’t played enough, so there might be a chance.”

Ti­mothy Fosu-Men­sah

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