Paul Pogba’s desire to put himself in the shop window will ensure he is “highly motivated” to deliver for Manchester United over the remainder of the season, according to Ralf Rangnick.
The France midfielder is expected to leave United as a free agent at the end of the campaign when his £290,000-a-week contract expires, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus among the clubs monitoring his situation.
Rangnick believes Pogba’s hopes of winning a lucrative new contract with another big club should help to produce his best form for United in his final few months at Old Trafford as he nears a return after 11 weeks out through injury.
In an extraordinary admission, United’s interim manager said: “For me it’s not a question if a player has an expiring contract, the question is how much does he still want to be a part of this group, how much does he still feel emotionally and physically on board?
“As long as this is the case, why shouldn’t Paul [play] now after two-and-a-half months of injury, fully fit again now and he also wants to show up.
“He wants to show the fans, the board, the whole world what kind of player he can be and even if it’s only to show enough for a new contract elsewhere, he will be highly motivated to do that and why should I then not play him?
“There is a difference of how players deal with their current situation. If they handle that in a professional way, an ambitious way, I will play players.”
Pogba (28) has not played since early November after suffering a thigh problem on international duty with France but he returned to training this week. He will play no part against Brentford tonight or West Ham on Saturday, but Rangnick said he hoped to have the midfielder back for the FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough on February 4.
Meanwhile, Rangnick said he had resolved his differences with Anthony Martial, despite appearing to stand by his claims the striker refused to be in United’s squad against Aston Villa last Saturday. Martial rejected that accusation, leading to clear-the-air talks.
Asked who was telling the truth, Rangnick replied: “I said all that needs to be said about that. I nominated him before the game and he was not part of the group. I had a conversation with him about all this and, from my perspective, everything has been resolved.”
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