Manchester United should not convince Paul Pogba to stay if he wants to leave, says Ralf Rangnick

Pogba’s contract set to expire at the end of the season

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Friday 10 December 2021 22:29
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<p>Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba</p>

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba

Ralf Rangnick does not believe that he or anyone else at Manchester United should attempt to convince Paul Pogba to stay at Old Trafford if his mind is already set on leaving.

Pogba's contract is set to expire during the summer and, with no sign of a new deal being imminent, he will be able to discuss a prospective free transfer with clubs across Europe in January.

Mino Raiola, Pogba's agent, said in an interview with German TV channel Sport1 on Friday that he has already received "many offers" for the 28-year-old, including an option to extend his stay at United. "We'll see what's best for him," he added.

Rangnick revealed that he had spoken to Pogba earlier this week, when the France international was undergoing rehabilitation on a thigh injury in Dubai. Pogba returned to Manchester on Friday, with Rangnick preferring that players do not travel abroad while rehabilitating.

On the World Cup-winning midfielder's future, Rangnick suggested that players should not need persuading to play for a club of United's stature but stressed that he is looking forward to meeting Pogba for the first time, working alongside him and integrating him into his team.

"I wouldn't say he's not worth keeping but of course players have to want to play and stay for a club and a big club like Manchester United," Rangnick said.

"If a player does not want to play for a club like Manchester United medium or long-term, I don't think it makes sense to convince him to change his mind. This is such a massive club with such fantastic support from the supporters, I don't think anyone in the club should try to convince a player to stay.

"But on the other hand let's wait and see," he added. "I have spoken with him on 15 minutes over the phone a few days ago. Let's have him come back, get fully fit, train with the team and then see where we stand, how the team has developed by then.

"He can be an important player but this is true for all the other players that we have and I'm not just the coach of Paul Pogba, I'm also the coach of all the other players and my ambition is to make them better, improve each individual player, and this is only possible by improving the performance of the whole team.

Pogba travelled to Dubai shortly after injuring himself on international duty with France last month and also has previously undergone rehabilitation in Miami, but Rangnick said that under him, United's players will work their way back to fitness while remaining at the club.

"My former clubs were always trying to make sure the rehab should take place in the club itself," he said. "As far as I can tell the medical department is really good, very good, with many different approaches towards rehab.

"I would not want players to do their rehab abroad or anywhere else but the decision on Paul was taken before I came.

"In the future, I have already spoken to the medical department - to Steve [McNally] our doctor, to Robin Sadler - that in the future I want players with injuries, and hopefully we don’t get long-term injuries, but if we have them in the future I want them to stay here."

Rangnick does not expect Pogba to be able to return to the United starting line-up for around a month, as he will need to reintegrate and readjust to the United interim's preferred high-intensity style of play as well as recover from injury.

When Pogba is available again, Rangnick hinted that he sees him as one of the two deepest midfield players in his favoured 4-2-2-2 system rather than playing on the left-hand side or up front.

"I very much looking forward to working with him as I am with all the other players but to know his best possible position I have to get to know him in person," he said.

"Of course it's also about him being fully, physically fit. The way we played against Palace, which is the way we want to build on for the next couple of games and tomorrow's game, is high intensity. Obviously you need to be fully fit to play that game.

"He will get that time to get fully fit and once he's fully fit we will then see. From what I've seen from him so far, I rather see him as a midfielder and not so much as a striker or left winger, but again, if I get to know him once he's fully fit we will see which position will be the best for him."

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