It’s been an interesting few weeks for Manchester United supporters, who’ve had to endure various reports coming out of the dressing room, which has shone a negative light on the club.
On Wednesday night, Ralf Rangnick came out with some intriguing comments in his pre-match press conference for United’s trip to Brentford. One of the main talking points circulated midfielder Paul Pogba.
Pogba, 28, has been the subject of speculation linking him with a move elsewhere as he is yet to put pen-to-paper on a new long-term deal at Old Trafford.
The Frenchman has less than six months remaining on his current contract and is free to negotiate with whoever he wants, seeing as his contract runs out at the end of the season.
Rangnick said that Pogba will still get some minutes at Old Trafford, even if he’s looking for a move elsewhere;
Asked about playing Pogba with his contract expiring, he said: “I also played Nemanja Matić in the last games, and his contract is also expiring. By the way, my contract as the manager is also expiring in the summer, so for us we have the same goal.
“He [Pogba] wants to show the fans of Manchester United, the board, the whole world, what kind of player he can be. Even if it’s for only showing up for a new contract elsewhere, he will be highly motivated to do that, so why should I then not play him?”
Of course, Pogba returning to Rangnick’s team will be a massive plus because United have been lacking a lot of creativity from the heart of their midfield. He also feels like his type of player because he’s made more progressive passes and applied the second-highest amount of successful pressures per 90 compared to any other midfielder in the squad.
At the start of the season, Pogba registered seven assists in his first four matches, and it looked like he was going to have a strong season. But it just hasn’t happened for various reasons. While he was on the sidelines due to his injury, many supporters grew fed up with his lack of commitment and continuous speculation.
The comments from Rangnick will resonate with United supporters because it’s a sign of how bad things have become since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
In all the teams Ferguson coached, there was hardly any disruption. Whoever performed on the pitch gave everything for the club and were committed. The Scot himself always seemed like a man in control, and the situations with Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney are prime examples of this.
Although Rangnick does look like he has a grip on events circulating at Old Trafford, I never thought I’d see the day where United could be starting players who aren’t playing for the badge but a move elsewhere.
There’s been a suspicion that Pogba has wanted to leave for some time, and who could blame him? He came back in 2016 expecting United to be challenging for major accolades. He was sold a dream that didn’t live up to expectations.
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During Pogba’s second segment of his United career, he has shown world-class ability, but not often enough. The noise from his agent, Mino Raiola, hasn’t helped his cause, and it feels like a broken relationship.
United do need to move on from the past because that has been one of their issues for so long. However, if you look at their rivals today, most of the players performing under Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are committed to the cause. The last time fans experienced that was probably under Ferguson.
The situation emphasises just how much work there is to get United back on track to what they once were.
Pogba needs to leave. If he puts in the performances, then great, but should he be on the receiving end of multiple defeats, things could turn ugly.
Does Pogba’s situation show United have declined? Follow our United On My Mind writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.