Super-agent Mino Raiola has claimed Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester United in summer, telling Italian newspaper Tuttosport that the 2018 World Cup winner is ‘unhappy’ at Old Trafford, needs a change of scenery and will be pursuing a transfer at the end of the season.
The comments come as United face a critical few days, with a crunch Champions League tie against RB Leipzig to determine qualification from the group stage and then the Premier League’s first Manchester derby of the season on Saturday.
Pogba has regularly been linked with a move away from United in recent years, but he scored a crucial goal in the comeback win over West Ham at the weekend and was in good form during ‘Project Restart’ in the summer after an injury-plagued season up to that point.
Raiola, however, despite a longstanding reputation for sporadically stirring the pot where Pogba’s future is concerned, has never been this clear about his intentions for the player.
“There's no point beating about the bush. It's better to speak out clearly, look forward and avoid wasting time to find culprits. Paul is unhappy at Man Utd, he can't manage to express himself like he wants to and like people expect him to,” the agent told Tuttosport in the explosive interview.
"He needs to change team. He needs a change of scenery. He has a contract that will expire in a year and a half, in the summer of 2022, but the best solution for all parties is a transfer in the next [summer] window.”
Raiola was plain as he threatened that Pogba will not sign a new contract at Old Trafford and leave the club as a free agent – for the second time in his career – if a transfer isn’t agreed.
“The Old Trafford club, which I have a great relationship with, knows well that they would risk losing him on a free transfer, given that at the moment it's not the player's intention to extend the contract,” Raiola gravely warned.
"If anybody can't understand this, then they know little or nothing about football. Anyway, they're free to direct all the blame to myself if Paul were to leave next summer.”
Pogba himself did say in the summer of 2019 that he would be open to a ‘new challenge’, only for his eventual return to form several months later appearing to put the issue to bed.
There was then talk of a new contract and the player himself commented in August this year that he expected negotiations to begin once the delayed Europa League tournament was complete. But it is unclear if those talks ever actually got underway.
Pogba also said while on international duty in October it ultimately remains his dream to play for Real Madrid in the future, but that he is still committed to United and ‘loves’ the club.
“I heard a lot of noise that I was going to leave and that I had to go to clubs on the right to the left. Today I am still at Manchester and I am fighting to try again to bring the club to the highest level,” Pogba explained at the time.
“We have all heard, things have been said. Yes, all football players would love to play for Real Madrid. It might be a dream. It is a dream for me, why not, one day.
“Like I said, I am in Manchester and I love my club. I perform in Manchester, I have fun and I want to do everything to put the club where it deserves it. I will give my all, like my teammates.”
Raiola himself has previously said it is a personal ambition of his to have one of his clients join Real Madrid and was hoping to do it over summer, only to see the coronavirus pandemic wipe out the transfer market as clubs across Europe tightened the purse strings.
“I want to take a footballer [to Real] permanently and I will try to do it this summer. It would mean pride for me and my footballers because Real Madrid is a great club,” the agent said at the time.
Even before the coronavirus crisis, Raiola admitted ‘not a lot of clubs can afford’ Pogba, making it difficult to predict where he could end up and what offer United would deem acceptable.