Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not given up hope of keeping Paul Pogba at Manchester United, as long as he can continue to show him he is building for a successful future at Old Trafford.
Pogba has been in majestic form of late for United and is currently producing the best football of his five-year spell at the club.
But he is out of contract at the end of next season and there has been no indication from his camp that he plans to extend that deal, even if he is now unlikely to try and force through a move this summer.
Pogba’s last public utterance on his future came in the summer of 2019, when he stated he wanted a “new challenge” and his agent Mino Raiola was aggressively sounding the death knell for his client’s time at the club as recently as December.
United have seen a rejuvenated Pogba over the previous four months, however, and he has been the club’s standout player in 2021, producing another dazzling display in the 6-2 demolition of Roma on Thursday night.
Solskjaer’s careful man management of Pogba has helped to get the best out of the 28-year-old, but with uncertainty over his future, as well as that of Edinson Cavani, the United manager still faces the prospect of losing two of his best players.
His relationship with Pogba goes back to the Frenchman’s time at the club as a teenager, before moving to Juventus, and Solskjaer knows producing a winning team could yet convince him his future can be at Old Trafford.
“You know, of course, I have worked with Paul for a few years. I had him when he was a reserve player as well and he knows my feelings about him that I want him to stay,” he said.
“It’s about creating a competitive environment that we can all thrive in, a competitive team challenging for trophies. They are winners, both Edi and Paul, but they are also human beings. So it’s important they enjoy coming into Carrington every day, enjoy playing for this team and if we can play like we did tonight and if we can go again against Liverpool and they can feel our progress this season then our chances are bigger to keep them.”
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If United don’t want to run the risk of losing Pogba for nothing then they will have to consider cashing in on him this summer and selling at a knockdown price.
Solskjaer is adamant he doesn’t want that to happen and he’s relishing the working relationship he’s developed with the midfielder.
“No of course not,” Solskjaer said of the possibility of Pogba leaving this summer.
“I have always said with Paul that I enjoy managing him, I enjoy coaching him, I enjoy talking to him and I also enjoy challenging him because he is a winner. He wants to be better and that’s why he listens. You can see he’s enjoying himself here as well.
“He has a smile on his face. It’s important we treat each other with respect and I try to treat everyone with the same amount of respect. But there are some players you have known since they were young lads and that’s the case with Paul that the longer you have known them the easier it is to have a bond with them.”