It seems a lifetime ago when Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, launched a scathing attack on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United in early December. It wasn’t the first time that the super-agent had gone rogue and put his client’s relationship with his club in unnecessary difficulty. Indeed, Raiola has a tendency to throw a grenade and walk away nonchalantly when it comes to dealing with Pogba’s wants and needs at United.
Raiola torpedoes United’s European dream
On this occasion, Raiola stirred the pot on the eve of Manchester United’s must-win game against RB Leipzig in the Champions League. As it turned out, United would lose 3-2 in Germany and suffer the ignominy of being dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages. Frustration quite rightly turned to Raiola and Pogba for being so irresponsible with their timing and putting their own needs before those of the club.
Those feelings of anger were completely justified given the Red Devils looked lost on the night and anything but united as they fell to a 2-0 deficit in just 15 minutes. It seemed inevitable that Solskjaer would sell Pogba in January as Raiola had demanded given the unrest that had been caused and the damage to United’s season. Indeed, it had even been reported by eurofootballrumours.com that Watford’s Ismaïla Sarr had been earmarked as a replacement in the event that United let Pogba go.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>How you solve a problem like Paul Pogba?<br><br>Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes IN on his agent Mino Raiola, who this week said the Frenchman was ‘unhappy’ at Manchester United…<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>#PL</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OptusSport?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>#OptusSport</a> <a href=”https://t.co/N6Xx6Vlwc1“>pic.twitter.com/N6Xx6Vlwc1</a></p>— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) <a href=”https://twitter.com/OptusSport/status/1336513399623073795?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>December 9, 2020</a></blockquote>
But instead of alienating Pogba, the Manchester United boss sought to build bridges and saved his anger for Raiola when asked about the situation in the press conferences that followed. The Norwegian’s man-management of Pogba was seen by many at the time as Solskjaer bending to the whims of a player that was turning into a prima donna as the weeks went on. But now that we have had a few months to assess Pogba’s attitude and a subsequent upturn in form, the obvious conclusion that we can draw is that Solskjaer was right to take the midfielder under his wing instead of kicking him out the nest. Indeed, United have benefited greatly from a resurgent Pogba who has been driving the Red Devils on to a Europa League final in Gdansk.
Pogba picks up the pieces and marches on to Gdansk
The Frenchman played a starring role in a 6-2 demotion of Roma that has left the club as the heavy favourites to collect the Europa League trophy this season having been priced at 8/15 to win the competition. In actual fact, those odds are quite generous when you take into account how clinical United have been in the Europa League this season. For those who are not yet familiar with online football betting, asiabet.org has put together a detailed account on how to go about doing this, which includes how to sign up and deposit, choose what to bet on and how to place bets. Indeed, the reality is that many football punters will be backing the Red Devils to go all the way in Europe this season which if they do, may mean that Pogba is offered another long-term deal at the club.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”><a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ListenIn?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>#ListenIn</a>: Man Utd vs. Roma <br><br>A touchline listen as Edinson Cavani turned in a masterclass…<br><br>Check the Paul Pogba reaction at the end <a href=”https://t.co/rtMt0fb10J“>pic.twitter.com/rtMt0fb10J</a></p>— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) <a href=”https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/1388042413596450816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>April 30, 2021</a></blockquote>
As initially alluded to, you would have got extremely long odds in December on Pogba signing a new deal at Old Trafford over the following summer but for all intents and purposes, it’s looking like that is the most likely outcome right now.
The only potential sticking point could be Pogba’s skepticism around whether Manchester United, under Solskjaer, are able to win the Champions League and Premier League. Naturally, a player of Pogba’s talent will have lofty ambitions about winning Europe’s most coveted club trophy and at 28 years old, the midfielder’s next contract will in all likelihood be his last mega-deal. The Frenchman will have to weigh up whether he wants to seek pastures new and a potential pay cut or stay at United on his current weekly wage of £290,000 per week, and hope that Solskjaer is able to finally complete the Champions League puzzle as a manager.
Indeed, in this current financial climate, it’s hard to imagine that any potential suitors from around the continent would be able to match Pogba’s salary, regardless of whether they are in a better position to win the Champions League than Manchester United. With that being the case, it seems certain that the World Cup winner will be offered a fresh deal at Old Trafford after months of impressive performances, what happens next will be up to the player.