Paul Pogba’s contract extension could alter Solskjaer’s transfer plans

The France international is keen on signing a new deal with Manchester United.

After a whirlwind period of umpteen rumours linking Paul Pogba with a move away from Old Trafford, it looks like the World Cup winner is quashing those murmurs as a contract extension at Manchester United looks likelier than ever.

Pogba’s move away from the English giants was a matter of when not if as the club found themselves in a precarious situation 12 months ago – after finishing outside the top-four and failing to win any silverware. Considering better options elsewhere in Real Madrid and Juventus, Paul Pogba, himself, hinted towards a new challenge while on a promotional tour for Adidas in Tokyo.

Since then, Real Madrid, reported having reached consensus on personal terms with the player, failed to land him as they lacked finances after a spending spree last summer.

Despite a failed transfer, Paul Pogba, showing the utmost professionalism towards his contracted club, worked hard during Manchester United’s pre-season tour in Far-East and Europe. The 27-year-old started the season and shined in Red Devils’ 4-0 victory against Chelsea on the first game week.

However, unfortunately, Paul Pogba twisted his ankle during a league outing against Southampton and had to spend a long time on the sideline. In spite of various attempts to expedite his recovery, Pogba, finally, had to undergo a surgery which kept him out until March.

To compound the frustration, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a worldwide shutdown the moment Pogba seemed to be returning back to action. Seeing this as a challenge, the Frenchman worked hard on his fitness during the lockdown and returned in peak physical condition.

Observing the club and manager’s efforts to ease his recovery period, Paul Pogba acknowledged his teammates, Man United, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a recent interview.

I feel great, I feel much, much better now. I’ve been training well and they [the club] have been looking after me very well. I’ve been doing some extra work and treatment on my ankle and the rest of my body.

And my team-mates as well, they’ve helped me to come back and feel confident. It’s like I never left, the guys still trust in me and always believe in me and that’s helped me a lot as well. (United Exclusive)

Now, as things stand, Paul Pogba, who once wanted an exit from Old Trafford citing club’s mediocrity, is believed to be ‘swimming in happiness’ and is enjoying his relationship with Bruno Fernandes.

It is now believed that Paul Pogba is eager to extend his contract at Manchester United, which expires next summer and has an option to elongate it by a solitary annum. As per multiple reports, the club representatives have initiated initial dialogues with player’s entourage and will present their offer soon.

How Pogba’s extension could affect Solskjaer’s transfer plans?

If we delve into Manchester United existing transfer policy, a list of targets are chalked months before the summer transfer window – the period where the club looks to do the majority of their business.

A top-three sequence for players in each position which needs strengthening is created priority-wise. Gauging how Pogba’s move away from United was gathering momentum, the midfield was touted as an area which might need addressing in the summer of 2020.

However, amid a certain change of heart for Pogba, it means Solskjaer could focus on reinforcing other positions of his squad. Jack Grealish was identified as the candidate to replace United’s number six given the Englishman’s similar ball-carrying abilities and linking the midfield with attackers.

But, the Aston Villa skipper could slip down Solskjaer’s priority list as Jadon Sancho remains to be a prime target for this summer. Also, as stories emerging around the Manchester club suggest, the management staff is eager to recruit in right-wing, striker, and centre-back areas.

Previously, the midfield was deemed to be ahead of defence in terms of Solskjaer’s preference. Although, Pogba, if he commits to a new deal, could force the Norwegian tactician to tweak his summer plans.

Knowing the financial clout of Man United, the club could be able to spend on 4-5 signings easily. But, the coronavirus crisis has not spared even the cream of the crop as Red Devils look to optimise their budget for the summer transfer window.

If we go by reports, Ed Woodward has the required finances to sanction big signings, possibly Jadon Sancho, but he wants to keep his net spend in the region of £50 million.

Going by this, United are anticipating a prominent number of player sales in the impending transfer market. The players touted for Old Trafford exit are Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, and Phil Jones.

In our previous reports, we talked about how AS Roma are working on a deal to sign Chris Smalling permanently and Inter Milan’s reluctance towards making a permanent move for Alexis Sanchez.

Who could leave Old Trafford this summer? Let us know in comments