A report in the MEN this week claimed Paul Pogba remains determined to quit Manchester United this summer.

The timing of the story is curious. It’s the winter break, so content for papers is needed, and it’s packed with quotes from an unnamed insider source.

If he does want out, it’s not a surprise. His agent Mino Raiola stressed last month [SkySports] that United are not matching Pogba’s ambitions. Sitting seventh in the Premier League, that’s understandable.

But if Pogba wants out, he has to earn it. United still hold the power.

Last summer United’s valuation of Pogba priced him out of a move. And it can do so again this year.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Figures

The MEN reported United valued Pogba at £180 million last summer. The Evening Standard reported the club wanted a cheaper but still excessive £150 million.

Nobody wanted to pay it. The biggest transfer paid by any club last summer was the £114 million paid for Joao Felix by Atletico Madrid, followed by Barcelona’s £107 million for Antoine Griezmann.

There is no way a club will spend £150 million this summer to sign Pogba, as it stands.

If no team wanted to last summer, then this season has not helped.

He has started only six games for Manchester United this season amid ongoing ankle injuries. He now represents a big risk for buying clubs.

Deals for Felix and Griezmann are yet to pay dividends in Spain either, with both players yet to reach double figures for goals.

Interested clubs are reliant on United dropping the price. And United may, but not by much.

United have an option to extend Pogba’s contract by a further year to 2022 [MEN], keeping the club in control of his future.

Risk

There is a risk with United’s approach. If his heart is not in it at United, he becomes a distraction.

And if he decides he does not want to play, while he would be harming his career, United would have a fast depreciating asset financially.

Pogba is on high wages, earning a reported £290,000 per week. Getting him off the wage bill has to be tempting, irrespective of price tag.

The worst case scenario if he runs down his contract for two more years, we get two more seasons similar to this one, and he leaves for nothing.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Earn an exit

While £150 million is far too much, Pogba’s reputation and star power is enough that a club may be willing to stretch to £100 million.

This could be spun into a victory for United, as it is higher than the £89 million the club paid for him in 2016.

But to convince a club to shell out, Pogba has to earn it. He has to prove his fitness, and quality.

Performances for United in the Europa League will help him stand out, and simply playing regularly in the Premier League will prove a point.

What if he can end the season helping United win the FA Cup? This will help prove his value and spin this campaign into a success.

Then there is France at Euro 2020, the biggest stage of all, and the one Pogba probably cares about most.

Even if his United season flops, a strong showing at the tournament can restore his reputation and help him earn the move he supposedly wants.

But if he doesn’t play well, or he gets injured again, he will be stuck at United one way or another, as the finances just won’t be able to meet a middle ground.

There’s no way United sell low for £60 million or the like. The decision will simply be made to kick a move onto a future transfer window, and make him earn the transfer bid the club view him as being worth.

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