Pogba's agent slams Scholes in new twist to United turmoil
The sense of crisis engulfing Manchester United took another twist yesterday when Paul Pogba's future was thrust back under the spotlight by the unsettled midfielder's agent during an extraordinary attack on club great Paul Scholes.
Mino Raiola hit back at Scholes's criticism of Pogba and "a lack of leaders" at United in the wake of their dismal 3-2 defeat away to Brighton on Sunday with two posts on Twitter that prompted a backlash from former players Gary Neville, Paul Ince and Mike Phelan, who also served as Alex Ferguson's assistant.
Ince suggested United were now "becoming a laughing stock" and claimed "everything is a total mess" at the club. Copying in Pogba's Twitter handle on the messages, Raiola wrote: "Some people need to talk for fear of being forgotten. Paul Scholes wouldn't recognise a leader if he was in front of Sir Winston Churchill."
In a sarcastic second tweet, Raiola added: "Paul Scholes should become sports director and advise Woodward to sell Pogba. Would be sleepless nights to find Pogba a new club."
At a time when Pogba is keen to move to Spain, his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho is under real strain, Raiola has reportedly been negotiating terms with Barcelona and the Old Trafford club are seeking the appointment of a technical director, the agent's remarks are likely to do little for relations between the player and the club.
Although Scholes accused Pogba of having "a really poor game" against Brighton and being too inconsistent, he made no suggestion that the midfielder should be sold.
Raiola's comments led Neville to urge Pogba to pull his agent into line. "Let's hope @paulpogba leads up his agent and shuts him up!" Neville responded on Twitter minutes later.
Ince echoed Neville's remarks and told Raiola to "grow up". "Hearing that Mino Raiola has criticised Paul Scholes is an interesting one - who is he to criticise him? He was an unbelievable player, and a leader despite the fact he didn't speak much," said Ince.
"I appreciate that times and mentalities have changed since I was a player, but the fact is the agent's job is to get a player a club and make sure he's happy - not to get involved with what pundits say. I doubt it will bother Scholesy much. He's a pundit paid to give his opinion, but Raiola needs to grow up and stay out of it."
Pogba had made no response to either of Raiola’s tweets as of last night, his only social media post being to wish “Eid Mubarak” to his followers in reference to Eid al-Adha, the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide.
Meanwhile, senior sources at United insist there is no potential vacancy to discuss at Old Trafford and dismissed any suggestions that there is any interest in Zinedine Zidane’s services.
Mourinho signed a new United contract in January, extending his stay at Old Trafford until 2020 with the option of a further year.