Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he tried to persuade French midfielder Paul Pogba to stay at Old Trafford, reports the Manchester Evening News.
The former Red Devils defender, who retired from the game at the end of this season, has admitted that he 'desperately' wanted the now Juventus man to stay at the club, but has revealed that Pogba was intent on leaving after failing to force himself into the first-team picture under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Since leaving English soil, Pogba has gone from strength-to-strength in Turin, and is now widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in world football.
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In fact, Ferdinand has tipped the talented midfielder to become the world's best player in the next four years.
The Manchester United hero stated: “When he started talking about leaving United I decided to take matters into my own hands and pulled him aside to give him the hard word.
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"I desperately wanted Paul stay at Old Trafford and asked him what the hell he was doing.
“I told him that everything he needed was right there and that his time would come. But he wasn’t having it, he had to play and felt he should be playing and had made up his mind to go."
The world's best?
Ferdinand went on to admit that he new Pogba's departure would haunt the Red Devils, claiming that the Juventus man always had the skills and toughness at Old Trafford.
He continued by saying: “I knew if he left it would come back to bite United on the backside.
“I would confidently predict that, provided he stays injury-free, Pogba will be the World Player of the Year within the next four years.
“He always had the skills and show at United that he was tough too.
“Paul Scholes used to kick him in training all the time going at him like he was to hack a tree down, but Pogba kept getting back up.
Pogba, of course, is now long gone, and will no doubt have a huge role to play as Juventus play Barcelona in Berlin tomorrow evening in the Champions League final. There's no doubt about it, the Frenchman will have to be at his very best if the Italian giants are able to pull off a surprise at the final hurdle.
Huge summer for United
For United, meanwhile, they will no doubt be hoping to prove their credentials on Europe's elite stage next season. One thing's for sure, under the guidance of current chief Louis van Gaal, the club are in need of improvement if they're going to compete for silverware in the immediate future.
Change is certainly expected in Manchester, and the hierarchy must bring a balance to the squad sooner rather than later. Of course, if Pogba became available, he'd make a fine signing for the club, but it's surely unlikely that he would return to Manchester after his first stint.
United may well have to look elsewhere, with it being crucial that Van Gaal and Co. make the right decisions in this window.
Manchester United fans: Who do you want your club to sign this summer? Have your say in the comments section below!