Paul Pogba has ‘never’ asked to leave Manchester United but Jose Mourinho still ‘in the dark’ over his future

Mourinho insists that Pogba has not personally told him that he wishes to leave Old Trafford

Mark Critchley
Saturday 15 September 2018 08:18 BST
Watford vs Manchester United preview

Jose Mourinho claims Paul Pogba has not told him that he wants to leave Old Trafford, though the Manchester United manager admits he remains “in the dark” over his midfielder’s future.

Pogba cast fresh doubt on his commitment to United last week while on international duty, telling journalists that while he is still under contract in Manchester, “...who knows what will happen in the near future?”

The 25-year-old has been persistently linked with a move away from Old Trafford since returning this summer as a World Cup winner and his relationship with Mourinho is believed to have become strained.

Last month, when asked whether he was happy in Manchester, he claimed he would be fined if he spoke truthfully about his feelings.

However, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to high-flying Watford, Mourinho denied that Pogba had ever personally informed him of a desire to leave the club.

“Paul came back after the World Cup the week before we started the Premier League. We are together two months or so. He never told me he wants to leave. Never. He never told me he wants to leave,” the United manager insisted.

“I can only comment on what is real for me, not in what I read, not in what I listen. I have no direct relation with the people that write or the people that listen. I have a direct relation with the players – not [just] Paul – the players. And he never told me he wants to leave.

“If he doesn’t tell me he wants to leave, it’s because he wants to stay. That’s my conclusion, no?”

Paul Pogba's career in 90 seconds

On Pogba’s most recent comments specifically, Mourinho added: “You have to ask him. As a manager I tell you the truth. That’s his problem, his relation with the media. I am not going to comment.”

Even if Pogba has not confronted Mourinho, his agent Mino Raiola is reportedly working behind the scenes, attempting to move his client on from Old Trafford.

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are understood to be interested in the midfielder’s services, while Pep Guardiola revealed earlier this year that Raiola offered Pogba to rivals Manchester City.

When asked about Raiola’s manoeuvrings in the market, Mourinho said: “I don’t know if that is true. I also need the agent to tell me or tell you in a way that I can see.

Pogba and Mourinho’s relationship is said to have become strained

“For example, this week I read a few things Gareth Southgate supposedly told. Then I watched the footage, and he didn’t say at all what was written.”

Mourinho admitted, however, that he is “in the dark” when it comes to the actions of agents, and can only rely on his interactions with his players.

“If I watch Mr Raiola on the screen saying the players wants to leave, and that he is organising a way for him to try to leave or so on, then I will believe,” he said.

“In this moment, I am completely in the dark. The only thing that is clear for me is that the player never – never in all these days we are together – he never told me that he wants to leave.”

Pogba is not the only player whose future is uncertain at Old Trafford, as several senior members of Mourinho’s squad have entered the final year of their contracts.

While United have the option to extend David de Gea and Anthony Martial’s contracts by a year, others like Luke Shaw, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera could leave on a free transfer in the summer.

“I hope they will stay,” Mourinho said. “We had a similar conversation last season about Marouane [Fellaini] and I was always saying I hope he stays, I believe he stays. I say the same. I hope they stay.

“Of course, I am happy with the players. David is David, no need of more words. Luke’s evolution made us believe he goes in the right direction and of course I want to keep him.

“Juan and Ander, even if they are not playing or not playing a lot, not starting matches, by the personality point-of-view and character point-of-view, by what they represent in the modern society in football, they are almost unique pieces that I also don’t want to lose.”

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