Paul Pogba is set to stay at Manchester United this season and should return to training this week, according to the front page of Marca (via Sport Witness).
The Spanish publication are citing manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interview after the club’s pre-season game versus AC Milan as the reason for the report.
Solskjaer said that Pogba wouldn’t leave and that he was expected to return to training this week. This comes after reports of a back injury being used as an excuse for the France international to complete a transfer.
Marca are claiming that despite a plea from Zinedine Zidane to sign Pogba this summer, Real Madrid were never close to signing the 26-year-old.
The Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford all summer long and even gave an interview during the middle of June saying he wanted to seek a new challenge. However, United have always been of the mindset that Pogba was not for sale, and even slapped an apparent £150m price tag on the midfielder.
Despite Pogba’s demand to leave the club, staying would wholly benefit Solskjaer next season. The France international was by far Manchester United’s most influential player last season as he finished the top scorer and top creator in all competitions.
Indeed, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata all combined for just 13 goals last season, three shy of what Pogba managed on his own. While the World Cup winner did invoke the ire of pundits such as Graeme Souness and Roy Keane over the course of last season, it’s hard to argue against his influence on the pitch.
The above statistics show just why the club can ill-afford to lose their midfield talisman this summer. Frankly, the players there last season showed little to suggest they could match him in terms of goals and assists and the defensive solidity Harry Maguire may bring to the Theatre of Dreams after his world-record move earlier today can help the Frenchman in midfield.
If he has a strong base from which to work, perhaps his goals and assists will be more decisive, if the defence can stop leaking goals after conceding 54 times last season.
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