The games Paul Pogba could come back in as he gets ruled out for '4-5 more weeks’ with injury

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has offered an update on Paul Pogba’s injury to the club website.

He said: “As far as I know, I was told a week ago, it would be a minimum of at least another four or five weeks before he is fit for training again. I hope he will be back as soon as possible.

“Right now, he’s not been part of the training group and, even if he was back whenever, two, three or four weeks, it will take some time.

“It’s one thing to be training fit but, on the other hand, he needs to be fit for the match and competition in either the Premier League or the Champions League and this will still take some time.”

So when will Pogba be back? It is still not clear, despite Rangnick’s update but we have had a look ahead at some potential return dates…

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Southampton (H)

In five weeks’ time, United host Southampton. This is the most optimistic potential return date.

That would rely on Pogba being back in training within four weeks and then Rangnick throwing him into action at the earliest possible opportunity.

Given how carefully Rangnick managed Raphael Varane’s return, it seems unlikely he will be that reckless and push Pogba that hard.

But the way we see it, this match which is so far scheduled to take place on February 12 is the earliest potential opportunity to see Pogba back out there again.

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Atletico Madrid (A)

United play Leeds – whom Pogba claimed four assists against on the opening day of the season – on February 20, before the trip to Madrid three days later for the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie.

Rangnick could recall Pogba for this huge game, potentially using him off the bench especially if United need to keep the ball to see out a result.

This return date would give him a little bit longer to train and build match fitness although of course flinging him back into a huge game would represent a risk in itself.

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Manchester City (A)

United travel to the Etihad Stadium for the second derby of the season on 5 March (subject to TV rescheduling the fixture).

That is in eight weeks time, theoretically giving Pogba five weeks to return to training and three further to regain sharpness and fitness.

Rangnick will hope that Pogba is back by then but he is seemingly being patient and not expecting the Frenchman back in a hurry so maybe it will be this long before he is in a red shirt again.

All of his potential return dates are after the end of the January transfer window. The injury likely means he will not move clubs this month with suitors reluctant to sign an injured player who is out of contract at the end of the season.

It does mean there is an outside chance Pogba has played his final game for United, if Mino Raiola does conjure up a January exit for him.

But more likely at this stage is him making a return in red in late February or early March, ready for the business end of the season.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.