Unsurprisingly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about Paul Pogba’s comments on international duty during his pre-Newcastle press conference.

Last week, Pogba admitted it would be a dream to play for Real Madrid one day.

Coming on the back of the 6-1 thumping by Tottenham, where Pogba didn’t play particularly well, the timing of the comments were as bad as the content.

During his press conference, which was streamed on the club’s official app at 10am on 16/10, Solskjaer gave a relatively short response when the comments were put to him.

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(MATT DUNHAM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Paul’s our player,” Solskjaer said.

“He’s going to be here for another two years and I’m sure Paul is focused on doing his best for us and we want to see the best of Paul.

“I’m sure in the next couple of years we’ll get the best out of him.”

It would be easy to frame this as a bold statement of intent from Solskjaer, warning off interest from Madrid.

But it’s what he didn’t say which was perhaps more telling.

(PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

No mention of a new contract

‘New contract’ – those two words were nowhere to be seen in Solskjaer’s statement.

 

He realises he’s going to have Pogba for the next two seasons, at an absolute maximum.

The five-year contract Pogba signed when he returned to United runs out this summer, and the club has an option to extend it for an additional year.

That looks the most likely course of action, to preserve Pogba’s transfer value in the event he doesn’t sign a new one.

Sold this summer?

No new deal would mean United face the prospect of losing Pogba for nothing in 2022, unless they sell him this summer.

The financial situation in elite football should become clearer by summer 2021.

For example, Madrid didn’t sign anyone last summer and that likely won’t happen two years running.

Solskjaer’s reference to ‘two years’ was telling. He’s not expecting to have Pogba for any longer than that.

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