Paul Pogba has played his farewell game for Manchester United and looks to have sent his final message to the squad WhatsApp group conversation.
Ralf Rangnick revealed that Pogba is out for the rest of the season after injuring himself early in the 4-0 loss to Liverpool last Tuesday and that he is unlikely to sign a contract extension. The 29-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season, and United’s club-record signing for £89 million looks certain to leave Old Trafford.
Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016, has had free transfer proposals from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain this summer. Real Madrid signed David Alaba on a free transfer from Bayern Munich last year and is hoping to do the same this summer with Kyllian Mbappe (PSG) and Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), with Pogba the latest high-profile free player to excite their interest. Real Madrid’s Clasico rivals Barcelona are also interested in Pogba, owing to a recent £236 million sponsorship agreement with Spotify that has helped to alleviate their financial troubles, however, Liverpool star Mohamed Salah is said to be at the top of their six-man shortlist.
Pogba and his agent, Mino Raiola, have repeatedly discussed the possibility of the midfielder leaving United over the course of his Old Trafford career, and the player’s relationship with Red Devils fans has deteriorated to the point where he walked off the pitch to boos and jeers following United’s 3-2 win over Norwich earlier this month.
While Pogba’s eventual destination is unknown, it is evident that the World Cup champion will not be playing for United next season. According to Mirror Football, Pogba has informed his United teammates that he would be leaving this summer and is even claimed to have abandoned the squad’s WhatsApp player group.
In March, Pogba expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation at United, proclaiming himself “not at all” satisfied with the club’s trophy record since his return and labeling the current season “dead.” Pogba also expressed his tactical dissatisfaction with temporary boss Rangnick in comparison to his international role: “With France, it’s simple: I play, and I play in my place; I know my role, and I have the coach’s and the players’ trust.” It’s natural to feel different at Manchester United because it’s difficult to remain consistent when your position, the team structure, or your partners change frequently… do I truly have a role? “I pose the question, but I have no response.”
Rangnick responded by saying Pogba and other United players needed to be adaptive, and recently said about the midfielder’s situation: “He was very like a few other players battling to sustainably reach his best performance on the pitch for a team like Man United.” This hasn’t just happened this season or in the last several weeks. As far as I recall, this was likewise the situation in previous years.
“It’s difficult to explain [why].” It would be easier to change if myself or other coaches knew, but I don’t know… as it appears right now, he will not renew his contract and I don’t know, maybe the club or Erik [ten Hag] will not want to renew his contract, I don’t know. He’s most likely not going to be here next season.”
Pogba responded on social media following United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal, tweeting: “Absolutely heartbroken to not be able to support the squad in today’s game.” I’ll strive extra harder to recover stronger and, ideally, before the season’s end. It’s not over yet. Thank you all for your help, and remember, “United we stand!”