OLE: POGBA’S GOING NOWHERE NEXT MONTH
AGENT CLAIMS MIDFIELDER WANTS TO WIN SILVERWARE AT UNITED BUT IS ‘SORRY’ MADRID MOVE FELL THROUGH – AND OLE SAYS HE WON’T BE SOLD
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.”