Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is expected to stay at Old Trafford beyond this season - and is now considered to be happy at the club.
Pogba has been heavily linked with a transfer away from United, primarily to Real Madrid, for more than the past year. Speculation about a possible exit was only worsened by his lengthy injury absence from September to March, barring a brief December comeback, and criticism of the player from national press reached new levels.
But circumstances have changed, as per a report from French outlet L’Equipe, and the imminent exit many thought was a given only a short while ago appears less and less likely.
The French outlet state that Pogba is happy again at United. That much is clear from his football since his recent return from injury. Things have been simplified and the World Cup winner is playing well and has impressed in his first few matches in six months.
It is also said that Pogba, who turned 27 in March, is excited by playing with January signing Bruno Fernandes. That is something that has already been spoken about plenty, with reports even before they got onto the pitch together revealing that their pair had gelled well in early training sessions and enjoyed a mutual respect despite their differing personalities.
It was later suggested a few days after training resumed at the start of June that Pogba would consider his new relationship with Fernandes as part of his long-term thinking, potentially even paving the way for a new contract at Old Trafford.
L’Equipe’s report backs that up with suggestions that Pogba may now have changed his mind about wanting to leave United and appears open to staying. A source close to the club thinks he could stay.
It has been well publicised that Pogba’s contract is due to expire at the end of next season, although the deal includes an option to extend to 2022 and L’Equipe notes that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has already decided that the club will trigger it.
L’Equipe adds that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to keep Pogba.
Given the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis on transfer budgets across Europe, the chances of any club even having the necessary funds to sign Pogba this summer are slim.
L’Equipe further explains that the only way he could leave in the near future is through a player exchange deal and United would have to want the individual being offered in return.
United’s targets have been carefully chosen to fit the ongoing rebuild project at Old Trafford and the likelihood of any player willingly cast off by another club fitting into that appears small.