Paul Pogba has dropped the biggest hint yet that he could stay at Manchester United beyond this summer.
The 27-year-old expressed his openness to an exit last summer, citing his willingness to take on a new challenge.
Those rumours gathered pace with the Frenchman only playing a bit-part role this season prior to lockdown. His future was also very much up in the air with talk of a return to Juventus or a switch to Real Madrid.
However, the signing and subsequent form of Bruno Fernandes appears to have lit a fuse in Pogba. Since football’s resumption, the pair have formed a strong bond in the United midfield.
And it seems Pogba’s new-found love for United seems to have been aroused by Fernandes. He is one of four United stars that Pogba admits are a ‘joy to watch’.
“From behind I just enjoy it,” Pogba told United Review. “I’m enjoying just watching Bruno, [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial and Mason [Greenwood]. They all played the last game – I love seeing them score goals.
“You just keep applauding, it’s beautiful… they make me enjoy football every time!
“As well though there is the defensive work that people don’t talk about – they do it. The pressing – they do it. That’s what you maybe don’t see that much.
“Football fans who know football see that and that’s the difference that we have and it’s great to see them at their best.
“I think it’s about the mentality – the attacking and defending that they do every time – that helps us. It helps the midfielders and the defenders and obviously the talent speaks for itself. The goals and the action and the football, everything.’
In a further hint on his future, Pogba also credits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for United’s improved mentality.
“You can tell that the team is improving a lot. We play more as a team than we did before. We enjoy it even more, we defend together, we attack together. This team is stronger as well,” Pogba added.
“The players who are on the bench or who don’t play every time, when they come on they help the team. The mentality is good and is right. All this together has put us where we are today.
“To become a top, top team we just need to forget about the last game. We do it, we play well, we do great but then we forget about it and we think about the next one.
“Take last week, we don’t think about what happened, we are focused on going again. We have to always keep having the goal to improve ourselves and never get satisfied with what we did.
“For example, Martial scored three goals, his first hat-trick, then he goes again. You have to carry on… he wants to take another ball home, you know!
“You have to have this mentality, score a goal and do it again and again.
“Bruno, Rashy, Mason… hey if you got two goals, great, but go for three, why not. You have to keep this mentality, keep a clean sheet too. We want to keep working on this and we have the mentality to do it.
“That’s also the mentality of this club, it’s always been like that. We’re never satisfied with one trophy or one game we win or two games or 10 games, you want more, you always want more. That’s what makes Manchester United the biggest club, for me, in England.”
Talk of new Pogba contract
Such has been his turnaround that United are said to be growing increasingly confident that Pogba will sign a new deal.
Pogba’s contract expires next summer – although it is unthinkable that the club will not invoke their one-year extension clause. And Solskjaer would like him to sign extended terms.
Asked if they would try and get Pogba to sign a new deal, Solskjaer had a diplomatic reply.
“Well, I can’t comment on discussions between players and the club,” he said. “But of course we want to keep the best players around the club. We want to build a squad for the future.
“Scott [McTominay] and Nemanja [Matic], they’re in a similar position but at different stages in their careers. One at the start, one really experienced. We also need players in that mid-range group, so hopefully we can do something.
“I know that since Paul’s come back now he’s looking better and better. He’s just enjoying his football and let’s see where it takes us.”