Paul Pogba is edging towards committing his future to Manchester United, reports in his home country claim.
The French midfielder is about to enter the final year of his contract with Man Utd. They spent what was a world-record fee at the time to bring him back from Juventus in 2016. But he has struggled for consistency over his five-year spell, despite sending occasional reminders of how brilliant he can be.
Pogba won the World Cup with France in 2018 and has started Euro 2020 in fine form as well. It has left fans and pundits wondering why he can’t replicate that form on a regular basis at Old Trafford.
In fairness to him, he did begin to show more consistency in the second half of the 2020-21 season. The catalyst could have been his agent Mino Raiola’s comments that his United career was “over” and that he would be leaving.
Pogba responded on the pitch by letting his football do the talking. As things stand, he remains a Man Utd player.
But Raiola knew all along what his contractual situation would be at this point and United must come to terms with it. Either they sign him to an extension or risk losing someone they spent £89m on for free.
Given his position, many clubs are still lining up for his signature. For example, a move to his native France, where he has never played club football, has been mooted, with Paris Saint-Germain potential suitors.
Alternatively, Real Madrid have been eyeing him for some time, although their ability to spend big in the transfer market has faded in recent years.
Thus, the most feasible exit route for Pogba seems to be a return to Juventus. Calciomercato claimed recently that the Italians hope to set up a meeting with Raiola soon, after the super-agent already held talks with PSG.
Juventus may be able to take Pogba back to Turin for just €60m. That would be a bargain given how he performed last time he was there.
In truth, the Serie A giants have never really replaced him properly. They have made many midfielder signings, but none have replicated his success. Hence, he remains their dream signing.
But a fresh update from Le Parisien suggests that Pogba is now leaning towards staying with United.
According to the French newspaper, Pogba has been convinced that the club are heading in the right direction under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
They reached the Europa League final at the end of last season, ultimately losing to Villarreal on penalties. But the fact that they got there in the first place after several semi-final losses in years gone by was a sign of progress.
What’s more, United have been linked with some high-profile signings across all areas of their squad. For example, Jadon Sancho remains a priority target after their exhausting pursuit of the Borussia Dortmund winger last summer.
Pogba could remain a part of that ever-strengthening United team, but a decision will only come after his involvement at Euro 2020 ends. With France one of the favourites for the tournament, it may take until next month at the earliest for the situation to become clearer.
However, the indications from Le Parisien are positive for United, who plan to open contract talks after the Euros.
Pogba explains United, France differences
Earlier this week, Pogba opened up on the differences in his style of play for club and country.
He told L’Equipe: “It’s true that at Juventus it was different from Manchester. We were playing three in the middle, in a 5-3-2. I had the freedom, I had to be in the box, to attack. It was an obligation.
“In Manchester, I have the freedom to go into the box, but the priority is to play, to defend.
“In the France team, we play a 4-2-3-1 too. I’m a little more involved in the transition, in the construction. But I have more freedom than in Manchester to get into the box, to make runs forward.
“At the same time, when you have Grizou [Antoine Griezmann], Kylian [Mbappe], you don’t want to enter their spaces, you don’t need to.
“I would like to play more offensively. Scoring 15 goals per season, that’s what I would like.
“But, we must put ourselves at the service of the collective. In Manchester, as with Les Bleus, the collective will always come before the player.
“Frankly, I still enjoy playing a little deeper. When Patrick [Vieira] said he preferred me at Juventus, I understand, I was able to express myself more further up, more with my technique.
“But it will always be the collective above everything else.”