Paul Pogba has been dropped to the Manchester United bench for their crunch Champions League clash against RB Leipzig.
Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, spoke out on the eve of United’s crucial fixture – where they need a point to reach the last 16 – describing the player as “unhappy” and insisting he needed to leave the club in the summer transfer window.
The France midfielder started and scored in a 3-1 win at West Ham in the Premier League at the weekend and played in the reverse fixture when United won 5-0.
But he was named among the substitutes for the final Group H fixture.
More to follow.
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‘Worst timing for Man Utd’
Sky Sports News’ James Cooper:
“This has not gone down well at Manchester United but it’s what they have come to expect from Paul Pogba and, more so, Mino Raiola.
“Whenever there’s a big moment, an interesting dynamic, Mino pops up. This time the timing is worst than ever.
“It’s been a difficult season for Pogba but against West Ham we saw the Paul Pogba everyone talks about; the guy who can change a game.
“Mino Raiola is saying it’s over but the fact of the matter is there’s a contract that says it’s not over: in Pogba’s case, to the summer of 2022 after that extra year was triggered.
“You have to look at the economics of the situation too. He’s on a huge wage and it would take a massive amount of money to get him out of Old Trafford. The economics will keep Pogba at Old Trafford for the moment, as they have done over the last few years. “
Raiola: Pogba is unhappy
Raiola spoke at length to Tuttosport ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Germany, declaring Pogba in need of a “change of scenery”.
“Paul is unhappy at Man Utd, he can’t manage to express himself like he wants to and like people expect him to,” Raiola said.
“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 – It’s happened many times before . However surely Paul knew he was making this announcement? If he wasn’t aware then we should see a quote from him very soon correcting his agent. Finally to do this ahead of Leipzig and the Man Derby is terrible timing for the Team. 😡
“Otherwise 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.
“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, who rejoined United from Juventus for £89m in 2016, revealed in October his desire to play for La Liga giants Real Madrid.
However, Raiola said that a return to Turin in the future should not be ruled out.
“Maybe Juventus could be his next destination. Why not? Among other things, the relationship with the club and his former team-mates is excellent,” he said.
“In these COVID times, not many can afford Paul but the important thing is wanting to sign him.”
Manchester United declined to comment when approached by Sky Sports News.
Carra: Pogba not worth the hassle
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher labelled Pogba and Raiola a “disgrace” and urged Manchester United to move the midfielder on at the earliest opportunity.
“Get rid,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “I’ve been saying this for 12 months. He is the most overrated player I’ve ever seen in my life.
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“I think the two of them are a disgrace. We’ll all blame the agent now and say, ‘Ask Pogba – what does he think?’
“Agents in this day and age, they’re not just agents. They’re a parent, they’re a best friend, they’re a financial advisor, they book holidays, they go away with each other.
“He will be Pogba’s best mate, so Pogba will be well aware of what’s going to come out of his mouth – and if he wasn’t, he should sack his agent. It’s very simple. That’s all that needs to happen.
“With Cristiano Ronaldo at United, there was always talk that he was going to go to Real Madrid and almost everybody knew he was going to go to Madrid at some stage.
“Man United had to put up with it because he was worth the hassle. Pogba is not worth the hassle. Get rid of him.”
The issue for United, according to Carragher, will be finding an appropriate suitor for the 27-year-old.
“There’s no chance in the world that Real Madrid or Barcelona will buy him,” he added.
“I’ve been flabbergasted already today with Arsenal’s performance, but I’ll be flabbergasted again if they come in for him. I wouldn’t go anywhere near him.”
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