Speculation over Paul Pogba’s Manchester United future intensifies after friendly absence
The French international has been linked with a transfer to Real Madrid all summer and stated publicly in June that he was tempted to take on a “new challenge somewhere else” three years after returning to Manchester United in a big-money transfer from Juventus.
The World Cup winner didn’t join Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s squad for a flight to Wales on Friday ahead of the club’s friendly encounter with AC Milan side at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, with a back spasm reported as the cause.
“At the end of the session today, Paul got a back spasm, the same issue he had last week, when he missed the session in Norway,” Solksjaer said this week.
However, conflicting reports emerged in the Spanish media which alleged that Pogba’s absence from the traveling squad was linked to his desire to force a move away from Old Trafford.
Jose Alvarez Haya, a sports reporter for Spanish outlet El Chiringuito, even suggested that Pogba isn’t carrying an injury and the unsettled star’s no-show blindsided Old Trafford officials.
“Pogba does not have any injuries,” Alvarez Haya wrote via translation, without citing sources. “He has not traveled by choice because he is not happy with his situation and wants to go to Real Madrid.”
Zinedine Zidane has petitioned Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to make Pogba the club’s latest Galactico as part of a squad overhaul at the Santiago Bernebeu, with his motivations to do so likely strengthened by Madrid’s poor performances in pre-season.
Real Madrid has also been linked with Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek who would be a significantly less expensive alternative to the French World Cup winner but with one month remaining in the Spanish transfer window, there is a ticking clock to make real the rumors that Pogba ignited early in the summer.
“There is a lot of thinking [going on],” Pogba said of his future. “I have been three years in Manchester and have been doing great – some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody, like everywhere else.
“After this season and everything that happened, with my season being my best season… it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.”