Manchester United plan to open contract talks with Paul Pogba this summer but are thought to still ‘fear’ the possibility of the star midfielder could wind down his contract and leave Old Trafford on a free transfer when that deal expires next year.
Pogba only has one more season left on the contract he initially signed in 2016 on his return to United from Juventus. He could potentially begin negotiating with overseas clubs from January if no new deal is agreed and could later walk away without bringing in a transfer fee.
Pogba has been linked with a move away from United for much of the last three years, particularly during the summers of 2018 and 2019 when a high profile transfer to Real Madrid was the subject of intense media speculation.
The Frenchman looked visibly unsettled on the pitch during that time, although his return to action in 2020 following a lengthy injury layoff, the arrival of Bruno Fernandes and United’s general improvement to the point where trophies could be within reach with just a few more targeted signings all served to suppress the rumours that he actively wants to leave.
But with no new contract agreed as things stand, the issue of his future is still unclear and has the potential to go either way until it is actually sorted.
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ESPN writes that United plan to open talks with Pogba over a new contract after Euro 2020 and have ‘not given up hope’ that he will agree to stay. His ambition is to win trophies and it is said the talks with focus on how the club is planning to catch up with Manchester City.
However, United are said to still ‘fear’ the possibility of the 28-year-old leaving for free in 2022. There is not thought to have been any firm contact from the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus over a transfer, owing to a lack of funds available to the three European giants. Yet all three, plus Paris Saint-Germain, would be interested if Pogba was to become a free agent.
The problem for United is that even if contract talks prove fruitless and Pogba does decide he wants to leave, there are unlikely to be any buyers willing or able to cough up big cash for him this summer. That could cost the Old Trafford club their last chance to receive a substantial fee as any interested clubs are aware they can avoid a transfer fee simply by waiting.