It was difficult to imagine Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United could’ve turned as sour as it now seems.
The then world record £89 million signing has cut a frustrated and at times disinterested figure at Old Trafford, not to mention his allegedly toxic influence in the dressing room.
Pogba was thought to be the ringleader of a player revolt against Jose Mourinho, which despite leading to a resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was short-lived at best.
The midfielder had a hand in 26 goals last season, 18 of which came after the Norwegian was installed during the lead-up to Christmas.
But in tandem with the whole United team, Pogba’s displays returned to an abysmal standard off the back of Solskjaer’s permanent appointment in late March.
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Facing a 2019-20 campaign without Champions League football, it should come as no surprise that the 26-year-old is angling to leave the club for a second time.
Real Madrid and Juventus are understood to be interested despite Ed Woodward telling Pogba and his agent Mino Raiola that any effort to force a move will be met with stern resistance.
Try as Woodward might, though, Pogba already appears to have one hand on the exit door.
After informing his teammates of his desire to go, The Sun claims that the France international is due to meet one-on-one with Solskjaer this week.
According to the report, Pogba will ‘beg’ Solskjaer to respect his wishes in the hope the manager can persuade Woodward to sanction his departure.
He wants the issue resolved before the Red Devils’ pre-season tour kicks off against Perth Glory in Australia on July 13.
United have slapped an asking price of £120 million on Pogba, which is thought to be the source of the deadlock.
Zinedine Zidane has entertained the prospect of bringing the World Cup winner to Madrid, though his employers are reluctant to pay more than £90 million following Eden Hazard’s £130 million deal.
Los Blancos may have an advantage of sorts in the potential makeweight taking up room in their overcrowded squad.
Isco has been named as a possible candidate to sweeten the deal, but it’s unclear whether United would be keen on the former Malaga midfielder.
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