Paul Pogba has been told he is “not the finished deal”, with Manchester United coach Mike Phelan looking for the Frenchman to ignore exit talk and deliver on expectation at Old Trafford.
The 26-year-old has not always performed to his full potential since returning to English football from Juventus in the summer of 2016.
An £89 million ($116m) deal returned him to the Red Devils for a second spell, with an agreement reached under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho seeing the club smash their transfer record.
There have been flashes of brilliance from Pogba over the course of three seasons, and he is now a World Cup winner, but there have also been questions of his form and attitude.
Phelan hopes a man currently generating links to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona will remain loyal to United and commit himself to achieving what was expected of him when he was signed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s right-hand man said of a mercurial talent: “Paul is not the finished deal even though everyone looks at him and sees a World Cup winner already.
“But there is still a lot more to come — and that is the exciting bit about Manchester United.
“There are players here who haven’t achieved for the club what they need to achieve.
“And we want to make sure that they relish that experience, embrace the opportunity to win things at United.”
Much of the criticism aimed at Pogba was generated during a testing opening to the 2018-19 campaign as he fell out of favour under Mourinho.
Speculation suggested that there had been a breakdown in the working relationship between outspoken coach and flamboyant midfielder, but a return to form has been made under Solskjaer.
Phelan added on a man been charged with the task of leading by example in a Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona: “Paul had a spell where all the eyes were on him and delivery of his best wasn’t there all the time, the consistency.
“Now we are trying to apply ourselves to Paul’s game. Ole has done a terrific job at helping Paul through certain spells and he has embraced that. He is maturing all the time.”
Phelan remains hopeful that he will be sticking around to help bring consistency out of Pogba, despite no deal being done as yet.
Solskjaer has been handed a three-year contract, but his assistant is still discussing how he can split his time between a role at Old Trafford and one in Australia as sporting director of the Central Coast Mariners.
A man who previously worked alongside Sir Alex Ferguson during an era of unprecedented success for United said of his future: “I want these players to enjoy their own great moments for themselves but I also want to do it again — that is the drive.
“It is different this time around, of course it is. It was six years ago, but it is not impossible.”