Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that Paul Pogba could still sign a new contract at Manchester United after revealing the club are keeping an ‘open dialogue’ with the in-form midfielder.
The 27-year-old is arguably producing his best form for United since returning to the club five years ago from Juventus, and was most recently voted the club’s player of the month for January.
The enigmatic French international continues to be topic of intense speculation regarding his future, largely thanks to the outspoken nature of his agent.
Mino Raiola caused a stir in December when claiming his client was unhappy and ‘needs to change team’, leading Pogba to post on Instagram suggesting that he had no intention of leaving any time soon.
The World Cup winner’s current contract expires in the summer of 2022 after United triggered the one-year extension clause in his deal and last week said he would ‘speak with the club and see what’s going on’.
Pogba’s brother Mathias has since said the club need to sell the midfielder this summer if they want to recoup a fee, but Solskjaer is unfazed about the transfer links.
“Speculation about Paul is always going to be there,” the Red Devils boss said.
“We’ve got a good open dialogue with Paul, so what we talk about and how we see that situation remains between us of course.
“I’m just happy he’s focused, he’s playing really well and he’s happy in himself and that’s important. You can see Paul now enjoying playing football with a red shirt on.”
Pogba had struggled for fitness and form after shining during Solskjaer’s first few months in the hotseat, but he now looks to be getting back to the kind of form which prompted United to splash out a then world-record fee for his services in 2016.
“I think you should ask Paul what he’s done because the answer is Paul has really knuckled down,” Solskjaer added.
“He’s worked hard, he’s got his fitness. I have said this many a time, he had a bad season last season with injuries, he had COVID-19 this season, he had an injury but he really works hard and he’s playing in a team that plays well.
“He’s a big inspiration for everyone. He always has a big smile… well, not always a big smile because in training yesterday when his team lost you can see how that affects him and he wasn’t happy.
“But today it was a new day and he’s ready to go again tomorrow.”
Pogba has been an important player for United over a frantic period, but was an unused substitute during Tuesday’s 9-0 shellacking of nine-man Southampton.
Solskjaer says “no one’s guaranteed a place in the team like a season ticket card here” thanks to the great competition at a club who tend to look at their summer transfer plans around this time.
“I still think we’re doing the same planning, preparation but of course the pandemic has changed the market and it’s changed the world – and it might affect what we can do,” the United manager said ahead of Saturday’s match against Everton.
“We just have to see where we’re at in the next few months, of course, but we are looking at players and targets as we normally would do.
“But we have done some very good business in the last few windows I feel and it’s not wholesale changes that we need to make. It’s the odd contribution and addition to the squad.”