Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been warned by Gary Neville that there is nothing he can do to prevent the inevitable free-transfer departure of the rejuvenated Paul Pogba next summer.
United – and Pogba’s – season got off to the best possible start on Saturday as Pennines rivals Leeds were destroyed 5-1. Bruno Fernandes stole the show after becoming the first United star since Lou Macari in 1977 to grab an opening-day hat-trick. Pogba though also impressed by grabbing an incredible four assists.
Indeed, it was a performance to behold as we rated and slated the players from both sides afterwards.
And while Fernandes took many of the plaudits, it was also one of Pogba’s best-ever games in a United shirt. With four assists to his name, he has already bettered his tally of three in the Premier League last season.
Furthermore, he is also the first Manchester United player – and just seventh overall – to achieve such a feat in one Premier League game.
However, speculation over the midfielder’s future continues to rage. He has just 10 months left on his deal and on Saturday was linked with a free-transfer move to a Euro giant.
United do, however, remain hopeful that Pogba will sign a new deal. Performances like Saturday’s will certainly help.
Furthermore, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano insists talks are continuing between United and his agent Mino Raiola.
However, Neville insists he has a strong feeling that Pogba will be on his way next summer. And with his contract now having 10 months remaining, he feels it’s inevitable the World Cup winner will move on.
“Leeds are the perfect opponents because they play one-on-one. Manchester United pulled them apart,” he said on Sky Sports.
“Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba were outstanding and it was a really good start from Manchester United.
“It’s an absolute given that if Fernandes and Pogba are at Manchester United, they will both play.
“But l think what we will see is Pogba on the left of a front three for big games. And he may play deeper in some games at Old Trafford when they need to unlock teams. He will create chances.
“Manchester United need one outstanding season from Pogba because he is going to leave next summer.
“I think Pogba will be excited by the team United are building but he has a decision to make. Does he want to commit his future to Manchester United?
“If it’s a new contract, it will be for three or four or five years. And that means the best years of his career will be at Manchester United.
“I think Paul Pogba has an ambition to play somewhere else – and that’s been clear for the last couple of years. His agent has told us that and I think he will take that opportunity.
“I think right now he will be thinking, ‘I like this team but I do want to go to Real Madrid or Paris’.”
Bruno Fernandes hails Pogba display
Now Fernandes has also tried to massage the player’s ego by sending the Premier League a strong warning over what’s to come.
“I’m pretty sure Paul could do five or six [assists] in one game! Paul is a quality player; we all trust him, we all know his qualities. The point is making those performances and to help the team do better and I’m pretty sure Paul is here to do that.”
Fernandes was also full of compliments for the United crowd. They were back in full voice at Old Trafford for the first time in 18 months.
The Reds’ No 18 added: “You see it when we scored the second goal and also when we conceded their goal. They give us that push that we need to push forward and to try to score.
“I think from the beginning of the game, when we came out, even when we were warming up, the atmosphere was already on fire.”