Manchester United respond to Paul Pogba speculation and new contract stance

By Tyrone Marshall

Manchester United are not concerned about the prospect of the speculation over Paul Pogba's future intensifying if he doesn't sign a new deal before the end of this year.

Pogba is into the final 12 months of his current contract at Old Trafford and he is yet to commit to an extension despite talks between the player and his agent, Mino Raiola, and United executives.

If Pogba doesn't sign a new deal before the end of 2021, he will be free to talk to clubs from abroad from January 1 and sign a pre-contract agreement that would see him leave on a free transfer next summer.

While speculation over Pogba's future has been relatively quiet since the start of this season, it could intensify if he enters the final six months of his deal and become something of a sideshow in the second half of the season.

United sources have stressed to the MEN they are accustomed to being at the centre of transfer talk and aren't unduly concerned at the prospect.

An impressive summer of transfer activity gave United hope they could tie Pogba down to a new contract and last month Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it was now up to the team to prove they were capable of delivering trophies to help convince the 28-year-old his future was at Old Trafford.

"It's up to us now to get results and to prove to ourselves we can win trophies," Solskjaer said. "Everyone who signs for Man United wants to win trophies. To be a part of a winning Man United, it's the most magical feeling in the world.

"Everyone's just focusing on doing our best and let's see where we go."

Pogba's future has been a source of intrigue since he declared a wish for a new challenge in the summer of 2019, while Raiola has since stirred the pot on a number of occasions.

He could walk away for free next summer, but United have made it clear to both Pogba and Raiola that they want to keep him and the ball is now firmly in their court. Despite the January 1 date looming large, there has been no deadline imposed on talks.

While Pogba could wait until the turn of the year to see what kind of market there is for him next summer, there is a belief inside United that only Paris St-Germain could compete with the kind of terms on offer at Old Trafford.

Pogba has previously talked of a desire to play for Real Madrid and he's also been heavily linked with a return to Juventus, but both of those clubs have suffered financially during the pandemic and would struggle to compete with United.

Raiola last spoke publicly on Pogba's future last month, when he again raised the prospect of a return to Turin.

"Pogba's contract expires next year. We will talk to Manchester (United) and see," he told Rai Sport .

"For sure Turin has remained in his heart and he cares a lot about these things. The possibility of returning to Juventus is there but it also depends on Juve."

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