Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United must deliver on their enormous promise and win trophies this season if they are to convince Paul Pogba to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
The World Cup winner is in the final year of his contract and there are fears he could leave the club on a free transfer for the second time in his career, with the likes of Real Madrid and PSG both circling.
But reports this week suggested the Frenchman is now leaning towards staying at United and could sign a new contract following the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, with Saturday’s CR7-inspired win over Newcastle having had a ‘profound effect’ on him.
United have also shown ambition by bringing in Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho in a stellar transfer window, though Solskjaer has suggested the club’s current feel-good factor is not enough alone to prompt a U-turn from Pogba and must translate into silverware.
Asked if Ronaldo’s arrival can convince Pogba to stay at Old Trafford, and whether there is no better place for him to play, Solskjaer replied: ‘Yeah, well, it’s up to us now to get results and to prove to ourselves that we can win trophies.
‘Because I think everyone who signs for Man United wants to win trophies, wants to be part of a winning Man United – that’s the most magical feeling in the world, to be part of a winning Man United team.
‘So, yep, I think everyone is just focusing on doing our best and let’s see where we go.’
Pogba has already amassed an astonishing seven assists in just four Premier League appearances and while Solskjaer was full of praise for the 28-year-old’s performances and fitness, he played down the importance of the statistics.
Asked about Pogba’s incredible assist record so far this season, Solskjaer continued: ‘Paul’s come back in good shape and he’s worked really hard over the summer. He came back lean and fit.
‘But what does an assist consist of? A square pass to Bruno [Fernandes] and then Bruno hits the top corner? Or when Paul plays a great pass through and Mason [Greenwood] runs past?
‘So Paul’s always been a top passer of the ball, we know that. He’s one of the best passers of the ball in European football.
‘So he’s probably not got assists from his best passes this season, so I don’t count assists at all. That’s just a social media [thing], or you the media. But Paul has played well, that’s for sure.’
He added: ‘I would give Anthony Martial an assist for Jesse, when he leaves the ball, like Yorke and Cole. There’s so much more than stats. I think David [De Gea] deserves one!’
Solskjaer was speaking from Bern, Switzerland on Monday evening ahead of United’s opening Champions League group stage match against Young Boys on Tuesday night.
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