Saturday 17 August 2019

Paul Pogba's delayed return to pre-season training squad explained as Solskjaer targets two more signings

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba continues to be the subject of transfer rumours (Martin Rickett/PA)
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba continues to be the subject of transfer rumours (Martin Rickett/PA)

Kevin Palmer and Andy Hampson

Paul Pogba's delayed return training with Manchester United has been the subject of plenty of speculation in recent days, but it has been confirmed that the French international has been given an extended break by his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United's first team stars returned from their summer break last Monday and the absence of Pogba fuelled rumours that the midfielder who has gone public in his desire to leave the club this summer is staying away in a bid to force through transfer.

Juventus and Real Madrid have been strongly linked with a mega-money move to sign Pogba following is comments that he 'wants a fresh challenge' three years after he returned to United for a second spell, but the Old Trafford club have constantly stated they do not want to sell their club record signing.

Yet there is no sinister motive behind Pogba's absence from the United training base, after it was revealed a decision was made to give the 26-year-old extra time off this summer following a brief break ahead of last season.

Pogba only had three weeks off last summer, as he played a central role in France's World Cup win and was back playing for United four weeks later, so he has now been afforded a few days of extra holiday ahead his return to the club's Carrington training base.

Pogba is expected to be part of the club's travelling party when they leave for Australia this week, with the United management team keen to include the midfielder in their plans for next season even though speculation over his future continued to swirl.

Solskjaer has also confirmed Manchester United are working on another two possible signings this summer to add to Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka ahead of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

The club are understood to have had a £70million bid for Leicester's England defender Harry Maguire rejected, while they have also been heavily linked with Newcastle's Sean Longstaff.

Speaking to the club website, the Man United boss said: "It's a long-term and it's a short-term project. You cannot just think three years down the line, so we've got short-term goals as well.

"I think we've been quite calm and good in the market as we've got the right people, and we're still working on a case or two.

"Of course, we're always looking to improve the squad and, all over the summer, I've been in touch with Joel (Glazer) and Ed (Woodward) and all the recruitment people and analysis people.

"I've got to say it's been very good so far. I've got the backing and we've got the people we wanted, for now, and there will probably be some more business being done."

Additional reporting by PA Media

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