Wednesday 17 October 2018

Pogba and Mourinho 'barely on speaking terms' as possibility of summer exit increases

Paul Pogba's best position has been up for debate
Paul Pogba's best position has been up for debate

Charlie Rusholme

PAUL POGBA and Jose Mourinho are barely on speaking terms at Manchester United and the French star could well be shown the exit at Old Trafford this summer.

The Premier League’s most expensive player is giving his boss the silent treatment after getting axed last month.

Their relationship has hit rock bottom and the Frenchman is communicating through assistant boss Rui Faria and backroom staff.

Mourinho took a thinly-veiled swipe at the £89million player when he insisted “I don’t give trust for free”.

Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has been in contact with top European clubs and recently admitted he is “ready to do my job” if things are not going well for his client.

France coach Didier Deschamps has also raised concerns over Pogba being unhappy at Old Trafford heading into the World Cup this summer.

Pogba, 25, was on the bench for both legs of the Champions League tie against Sevilla, which were United’s biggest games of the season at the time.

dumped

Getting dumped out of Europe means Mourinho’s only hope for silverware this season is the FA Cup – and he left out Pogba for the win against Brighton when a semi-final place at Wembley was at stake.

And Mourinho is ready to  spend big this summer – with Paul Pogba the bait in a £200 million transfer blitz on Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Even some of Manchester United’s other stars are disappointed that the £89million midfielder focuses more on his image than his football.

United still have a core of senior pros like Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones who all played under Alex Ferguson.

And Pogba is believed to have been told to rein in his social media activity and concentrate on delivering the high-level performances they know he is capable of.

Mourinho is clear he has to win at least one major trophy next season – and he is targeting four international stars to catapult United back among Europe’s elite – with Pogba as bait.

The top duo on his hit list are Bernabeu stars Raphael Varane and Toni Kroos as Mourinho looks to import quality into defence and midfield.

French centre-back Varane – rated at £70m by Madrid – has been on Mourinho’s radar since he left Real Madrid in 2013 after three seasons working with the elegant star.

German World Cup winner Kroos, 28, is also on Mourinho’s wish list with the United boss admiring his drive and intelligence on the pitch.

Now Pogba has come up short, Mourinho wants someone to run United’s midfield and Kroos fits the bill – despite Madrid slapping a near- £100m valuation on the German.

Mourinho’s back-up plan would be PSG pair Marquinhos and Marco Verratti, with £45m Juventus left-back Alex Sandro eyed as a solution to United’s problems with Luke Shaw.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane likes fellow-Frenchman Pogba but Madrid would prefer to take David De Gea from United.

Pogba and PSG would be a natural fit though – and Mourinho is banking on that prospect to encourage the French side to be open for a double deal for Verratti and Marquinhos.

Despite pogba’s current issues at Old Trafford, his agent  Raiola insists his client was a bargain - adding that it was the player’s determination to return to United that ensured the deal went through.

“I think Manchester United would have paid E200mfor him,” the super agent said in an interview with a Dutch publication.

“Pogba was a cheap player because he had included in his contract with Juventus that we were allowed to determine where he wanted to go, and not the club.”

Herald Sport

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