Amid an encouraging day of movement on the Jadon Sancho deal, another priority has begun to emerge for Manchester United.
Obviously the top issue is to tie up a deal with Borussia Dortmund, with BBC Sport reporting the two sides are not far apart in valuations.
The issue needling at United is ongoing speculation over Paul Pogba’s future.
This always comes to a head while he is with the French squad, so we should not be surprised discussion over his future is in the news, ahead of a major tournament.
Pogba’s future is also an unavoidable issue thanks to his expiring contract, which has just one year remaining.
What has been said about Pogba’s future this week?
First this week Pogba was questioned on camera about a move to PSG by Ligue 1 ace Presnel Kimpembe and Bayern star Kingsley Coman.
ESPN reported how Pogba offered a blunt response of ‘no’ when asked if he had spoken to PSG.
Asked more directly about his situation by reporters, Pogba told Sky Sports on Thursday that he does not have a new offer from United yet.
Pogba said: “I have one year left in my contract and everybody knows it. I know that the club made no concrete proposal.
“We finished the season with the Europa League and after that we had our holidays. I didn’t have the chance to speak with the manager.
“I am still a Manchester United player, obviously, but the only thought I have about my future is the Euros.
“All things related to the club, when you have a competition like this, I try to avoid them. That’s why I have an agent and he is the one that takes care of all this.”
Pogba’s stance is fair enough to concentrate on Euro 2020, but we still don’t know what he actually wants, and perhaps, neither does he.
To be fair, Mino Raiola would be unhappy with him if he said he wanted to stay, as this would weaken his negotiating position. If Pogba stays, Raiola will want to get the best deal possible.
Use Sancho to tempt Pogba… or sell
One of Pogba’s gripes with United has been that he has not had enough top quality players around him.
A move for Jadon Sancho will go a lot closer to ending that argument, adding the winger to Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
There should still be work to be done to sign another top defensive midfielder, but this should be a step in the right direction.
ESPN report United are concerned by Pogba’s contract situation and plan to renew talks with him.
It really depends on how receptive he is to staying, whether they are successful. He could have a unique opportunity as a free agent next summer to decide his own future.
If Pogba cannot or refuses to buy into a United future with Sancho as one of the new stars, then United have to take the tough decision to sell.
This is the last summer where United can receive a fee for Pogba, and it could be a good one if he stars for France at Euro 2020.
Failing that he could be traded in a part-exchange deal with Raphael Varane, for instance.
United have options, we looked at three big money ways to replace Pogba this week which ranged from attacking to defensive midfielders.
One way or another a decision must be made, and it becomes easier if Sancho is in, with United under less pressure.
If he wants to stay, then great. If he wants to leave, then he should be sold so United can sign a player who wants to be here and strengthen the squad.
But United can ignore it no longer. Once the Euros are over, by which time Sancho will hopefully be signed, this is a situation United must address.
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