Man Utd: Solskjaer praises match-winner Pogba
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Barcelona are reportedly keen on signing Paul Pogba again. The Manchester United star was being eyed by the Catalan giants back in the summer transfer window of 2018, only to end up staying at Old Trafford. They did, however, lodge a shambolic offer for the 27-year-old at the time.
Manchester United want Pogba to stay.
The France international has become an integral part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad when fit and the Norwegian has, regularly, expressed a belief his talents can be satisfied at Old Trafford.
The problem for United is, however, that Pogba’s exit could be beyond their control.
He’s yet to sign a new contract with the club and, with his current contract due to expire in 2022, a parting of the ways may be on the cards.
Over in Spain, OKDiario have claimed Barcelona could swoop for the 27-year-old at the end of the season.
It’s claimed the club’s new president, Joan Laporta, has held talks with Mino Raiola about a blockbuster move to the Nou Camp.
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So with that seemingly the case, it’s worth throwing things back and looking at Barcelona’s shambolic offer for Pogba back in 2018.
At the time, the former Juventus star was on top of the world.
He’d propelled France to World Cup glory, helping them banish the demons of their 2016 European Championships final defeat to Portugal two years previously.
Except when Pogba returned to United after his heroics, he found Jose Mourinho waiting for him. A Mourinho far from happy.
The 58-year-old told the midfielder he wanted the same effort and application at Old Trafford, with the pair’s relationship souring in the months previously following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez.
And with Pogba unimpressed, he then eyed a move away.
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Barcelona were interested, but not for any price. And they produced a woeful bid for the World Cup winner, offering United a fee of £45million plus fringe players Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina.
Unsurprisingly, the offer was laughed out of the house and United ended up retaining Pogba’s services.
And if Barcelona are to land the Frenchman, regardless of his contract situation, they’ll have to do much better than that this time around.
Especially with United having long-standing interest in several players currently at Ronald Koeman’s disposal over in Catalonia.
Ousmane Dembele remains a target, despite Solskjaer missing out on the France international back in the summer.
United have been linked with Ansu Fati, who was ticking along nicely at the Nou Camp before injury cruelly intervened to disrupt his season.
And Antoine Griezmann has long been admired, with Mourinho coming close to snaring the World Cup winner in 2017 during his time at Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, speaking recently, Solskjaer insisted Pogba should stick instead of twist.
“While he’s been at the club Paul has always wanted what is best for Man United,” the Norwegian declared. “He’s been such an important part of the squad on and off the pitch.
“Paul is a player we want to see at Man United and play well. Just to have him back fit for the last two months, he’s going to be important to us.
“We know he can be the difference between many, many points or going through in Europe like we did against AC Milan.
“The focus is now on finishing the season strongly and Paul knows what my thoughts are.”
He also insisted a fully-fit Pogba would be a ‘boost’ ahead of the crunch months of the campaign.
“It’ll be a massive boost and he’s come back bright and he’s ready to go,” the United manager said. “We know how important he will be for us and how important he has been.
“To have players of his quality out for longer periods, that just shows the quality of the others as well.
“But towards the end of the season now, having Paul back fit and getting our forwards back firing again, hopefully we can get that spark and score more goals again.”
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