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European Soccer - More Pogba Problems for United

Solskjaer speaks on the player’s continued absence stating he’s been advised ‘by his people to have an operation’.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Paul Pogba who played in the 4-1 defeat of Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The problems between Manchester United and Paul Pogba appear to continue to mount. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked irritated when interviewed after this evening’s 0-2 loss at The Emirates when asked about the player’s absence.

“We’ve had scans and it’s nothing major, but it’s something that has to be dealt with. He’s been advised to have an operation by his people and we’ll probably do it as soon as [possible], so he will be out for three to four weeks,” said the United boss.

Pogba has played only 8 times this season (6 starts), and it adds further fuel to the rumour mill that a January or summer move is on the cards for the French international. Not least since ‘super-agent’ Mina Raiola already attempted to have the player move away from United last summer.

Tension remains between the club and Raiola, also the agent of Erling Haaland, whom United eventually decided not to pursue over the agent’s involvement with the player and excessive demands in the event of any sell-on fee.

And Raiola has taken a dig at United by saying that he sees Pogba at the Red Devils in a year’s time, but “in a club that I hope fights for the league and the Champions League.”

Matthijs De Ligt Arrives In Turin
Mino Raiola - “Pogba’s heart is with United...”
Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

He claims that Pogba’s heart is with United, but adds the player needs to be playing in a side capable of winning trophies.

Asked if he and Pogba were happy with the situation, Raiola exclusively told Sky Sports News, “Paul has always respected Manchester United, as long as Manchester United has respected Paul.

“The only one that talks for Manchester United and Paul is Ole. I go by what he says; he will not move. That’s OK and we are good with them.

”Paul is struggling a little bit with his injury and that’s our main interest now. There’s one objective that Paul has and that is to perform as well as possible with Manchester United.

”He’s a top pro and I think that his heart is in the right place with Manchester United.”

Former United captain Gary Neville became embroiled in the goings-on insisting he does not trust Raiola after the agent claimed Pogba wants to win trophies with the club.

Neville said: “That’s good. That’s great news [that he wants to win trophies with United]. Ultimately, I look forward to him being at the club for the next two or three years.

”If he is, I’ll be delighted because a flying, fit, motivated and committed Paul Pogba is a massive asset to Manchester United.

”But I don’t believe a word his agent says. I don’t believe a word that comes out of that man’s mouth.”

Southampton FC v Leicester City - Premier League
TV pundit and former United captain on Raiola: “I don’t believe a word that comes out of that man’s mouth.”
Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

The modern phenomenon of super-agent/player power is all powerful and not a good development for the football industry.

When a huge club the size of Manchester United seemingly loses control over the physical welfare of its most prized asset to a football agent, what chance do the rest have? There was always money in big-time football, but nowadays it’s put some players and agents heavily stimulated by greed, firmly in pole position.

The situation where Pogba is being advised by ‘his people’ to go for the operation, rather than by his club medical staff, is a far from normal one and certainly serves as a signal that the player, his agent, or both, remain keen for the player to try out pastures new.

The tail is wagging the dog...