Manchester United door is open for Paul Pogba, for now

Paul Pogba’s situation at Manchester United veered towards farcical this week when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the Frenchman was ill.

The 26-year-old has not played since September and has been dealing with an ankle injury.

One of our questions when the ‘illness’ line broke, after he was pictured dancing at his brother’s wedding, was how would his teammates react to this?

Pogba is a player who has captained United in the past, he should be one of the club’s leaders, and yet he is hardly busting a gut to get back.

The Mirror now report United’s players and staff are suspicious of Pogba and whether he will ever play for the club again.

For now, the club’s stance is simple. The door is open. It’s now up to him.

The report states: “United are adamant they will not allow Pogba to leave in January, with Solskjaer insisting the 26-year-old remains a key part of his plans going forward, despite his prolonged absence.”

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

He’s got a decision to make

If Pogba just couldn’t be bothered to rush back from his brother’s and told United he was ill, then that’s poor. But it is a forgivable offence.

Going on strike for another six months would put Pogba into the realm of no return.

He has got a decision to make now. Does Pogba try to drag this illness out, and come up with more excuses to get to January,and even then risk being stuck not playing until the summer? Or does he return to the squad, make an apology and start playing again?

United’s door is open for three reasons. Firstly he is really talented, secondly the squad is light in midfield, and thirdly there is a packed fixture schedule.

Big games against Arsenal, Liverpool, and a two-legged semi-final with City set up a busy January. United would be silly to close the door on him, on the off chance he was genuinely ill, with these fixtures coming up.

But Pogba needs to show some desire to play in these games. He should not need to be persuaded. These are great games for top level footballers to want to play in, and if he doesn’t want to, then he’s no use to us.

Sitting them out is not likely to help him. His reputation will be tarnished, and clubs will be less willing to meet United’s asking price.

Why not return for the semi-finals and try and win his first club trophy since 2017?

He can’t really afford to sit out for months either with France hoping to win Euro 2020 this summer.

Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Is Raiola pulling the strings?

Lurking in the background of all this is Pogba’s notorious agent Mino Raiola. He has been suspiciously quiet recently about the Frenchman.

What we do know, is that he is busy trying to get a move for another of his clients, Erling Haaland, and a big payday in the process.

United are hoping to sign Haaland, The Telegraph report, and that raises the uncomfortable spectre of doing business with Raiola again.

The Pogba situation makes us suspicious that Raiola is promising Haaland to United, on condition that the Frenchman will be allowed to leave.

To consider for a moment that if it goes the other way and United stick to their guns and refuse to sell, as The Mail report, Pogba’s unhappiness might end up costing United Haaland at Raiola’s whim, well that would be incredibly frustrating.

It’s a high stakes game Pogba would be playing to go on strike, with no legitimate talk of bids from any foreign clubs for Pogba as yet, even Real Madrid.

Sooner or later, Pogba is going to have to consider dusting off his boots, and resuming his football career again.

The door is still open for him at United. But you have to wonder how long it is before the club get fed up and the situation turns nasty, if the Frenchman refuses to rejoin the squad.

Sooner or later there will be no way back, and it will be Pogba and his agent’s fault.

Who knows, perhaps we will have a Christmas miracle and see Pogba make a swift recovery and play before the end of 2019. Time is running out for that.

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