Manchester United hope they can convince Paul Pogba to reject interest from Real Madrid by offering the midfielder a new long-term deal at Old Trafford, sources have told Metro.co.uk. The Frenchman and his agent, Mino Raiola, have made clear their intentions to engineer a move from Old Trafford this summer, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed to build his side around Pogba.
Raiola claimed Pogba was ‘in the process’ of leaving the club shortly before they embarked on their tour of Australia and club officials feared the midfielder would not return to Manchester to board a flight to Perth.
However, it is understood that Solskjaer and his backroom staff have been ‘encouraged’ by Pogba’s demeanour on United’s tour and have seen no sign of a change in attitude. United remain confident of keeping Pogba this summer and doubt there is a buyer on the market capable of meeting their £150m valuation of the France midfielder.
But, while Pogba remains keen on seeking a new challenge elsewhere, Solskjaer has been impressed by the midfielder’s conduct on the pre-season tour and his teammates have been surprised by how relaxed he appears given the speculation around his future.
It was revealed last week that Solskjaer was concerned by Pogba’s influence on the younger members of the squad and the midfielder was overlooked in favour of Nemanja Matic, who was made captain in the friendly against Inter Milan in Singapore.
However, Pogba’s impressed staff with the way in which he’s welcomed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James into the squad and it’s been noted as an attempt from the Frenchman to become a figurehead in the United dressing room.
Part of United’s confidence in keeping Pogba stems from the long-term deal that the midfielder is currently tied down to following his return to the club in 2016. Pogba signed a six-year deal following his then-world record move to Old Trafford and the club had pencilled in discussions with his representatives in early 2020 to discuss an extension.
United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League meant a 25% reduction in Pogba’s wages and the club are willing to make him the second highest paid player at the club behind Alexis Sanchez to sign a new deal.
The club are understandably focused on the remainder of the transfer window but they’ll bring forward talks with Pogba’s representatives towards the end of this year to discuss a new deal. Solskjaer remains convinced that Pogba can be persuaded to stay at the club and he’s held three one-on-one conversations with the 26-year-old since the start of the tour in a bid to keep the Frenchman focused.