At the current moment in time, Paul Pogba is being linked with a surprising summer switch to Manchester City. The Manchester United star is poised to become a free agent at the end of the campaign after six years at Old Trafford. And a decision from Ed Woodward has led to the current situation.
Manchester City will need a new midfielder this summer to replace Fernandinho, who is primed to leave the Etihad Stadium behind for a new challenge.
And Pogba is being linked with a sensational move across Manchester as his contract with United winds down.
It would be some transfer from the 29-year-old if he ends up moving to City, who are also confident of winning the race for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
Yet there’s a sense that United aren’t willing to push the boat out when it comes to keeping the France international, who has often struggled for consistency during his second stint at the club.
ESPN reported in 2020 that Woodward warned Pogba at the time that United wouldn’t break the bank to offer him an extension.
The former United chief, who left his post with the club earlier this year, was in agreement with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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They didn’t want Pogba to be given a huge pay rise on his existing £270,000-a-week deal despite his high profile.
Scarred from the Alexis Sanchez debacle, when the club paid the Chile international wages of £400,000-a-week, the Red Devils made their position abundantly clear.
And that may explain why Pogba’s future is still uncertain as his contract winds down.
The midfielder wants to play again this season having been absent since limping out of their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool last month.
And United aren’t willing to increase their current offer to Pogba in order to ensure he commits.
If Woodward had approved a pay rise, it’s possible this scenario would have been avoided.
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Yet there’s certainly questions to be asked over whether Pogba has done enough to earn the salary increase he craves.
He propelled the club to EFL Cup and Europa League glory during his first season back after arriving from Juventus in 2016.
However, the brutal truth of the matter he’s been way too inconsistent to become a popular figure with United fans.
If he moves to City, it will be controversial.
But there’s no guarantee he’d be a hit at the Etihad given the way his second spell at United has worked out.
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Former United star Dimitar Berbatov has had his say on talk of Pogba crossing the divide.
And he feels that the presence of Pep Guardiola may be enough to convince him into swapping United for City this summer.
“I have read the latest rumours about Paul Pogba, his contract is expiring in the summer and he is free to contact and speak to whoever,” the Bulgarian told Betfair.
“He should have done better at United, most of the time he had some injuries, his talent is immense but it didn’t quite work out.
“He had more downs than up at United, which is a pity because he is a great, great talent.
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“A United player going to City has happened before, like my former teammate Carlos Tevez, and it will be no surprise if it happens again.
“We will have to wait and see if Pogba makes the switch across town, but that temptation of working with Guardiola will be big for players and that will be a big factor if he is thinking about a move like this.
“Also, playing with a different team with new challenges will appeal to him.
“If he does go to City it will be a big challenge for him, staying in Manchester but playing for a rival, that can bring some heat, jealousy and all these kinds of feelings.
“In the last games and the last few months, not everybody has been happy with Pogba playing for United and some of the fans have been voicing their opinions, so maybe so fans won’t be disappointed to see him leave.”