Should Man Utd sell Paul Pogba? The pros and cons of offloading under-fire star

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The Frenchman is the subject of split opinion following United's recent run of form, but would it be right to allow the midfielder to leave?

Manchester United have lost seven of their last nine matches, and Paul Pogba's inspirational form between December and February is little more than a distant memory as the club come to terms with the huge rebuilding job they will need to begin this summer.

Whether United make the top four or not, there is every chance that Pogba could look to force a move to Real Madrid after three years back in the famous red shirt.

But would it be right to allow the Frenchman to leave, or should manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be given the opportunity to build his team around Pogba as he has spoken of for so many years?

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    KEEP HIM – Selling him sends an awful signal to potential signings ahead of 2019-20

    Picture the scene. You’re one of the world’s leading football players and are weighing up the possibility of moving to Manchester United or instead heading for a Bayern Munich or a Barcelona. You have experience at a high level but now is the time to win trophies, and you want to make the most of your window at the top of the game. Are you really going to sign for United if they are talking about a need to rebuild and selling their biggest asset? Keeping Pogba would be a sign that they are still serious about aiming for some sort of success in 2019-20, whereas selling him in favour of bashing a reset button is probably the quickest way to tell talented potential signings to steer well clear for the time being. 
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    SELL HIM – His heart doesn’t seem to be in it

    When United have needed a leader and a driving force in recent times, Pogba has been nowhere to be seen. His excellent run of form after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival seemed to suggest there had been a turning point in his Old Trafford career, but the second things started to point downwards, so did Pogba’s performances. Where is the character he was showing when things were going well? Where were the talismanic turns against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester City that we saw against Huddersfield and Bournemouth and Fulham? At a time when Solskjaer is demanding heart and fight as a pre-requisite, Pogba has people questioning his by the week.
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    KEEP HIM – Why would De Gea stay if you’re selling your best players?

    In the same way that potential signings may not fancy the idea of buying into a rebuild, what message would it send out to David de Gea if the club let Pogba leave? While the Spaniard has turned in a poor run of form of late too, he has indisputably been United’s most consistently impressive player for the last six years. And as he spends a summer considering his future with just 12 months left of his contract, all the while wondering what the future direction of United might bring for him, will he really be willing to commit himself to the club in the longer term if he is likely to have to sit through another couple of years of transition while United sell off a great talent in the hope they can reinvest in yet another new vision?
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    SELL HIM – It’s £150m towards the rebuild

    Whether Pogba stays or goes, the need for wholesale changes in the United squad is clear. The Frenchman has a market value of around £150 million given the current financial boon in football, and while that ought to be small fry for the world game’s biggest generator of revenues the sad fact is that the Glazer-instigated debts mean that Solskjaer isn’t going to get the keys to the vault without impunity. If the Norwegian wants to make widespread alternations, cashing in £150m or so on Pogba might be the best way of making that happen.
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    KEEP HIM – Solskjaer’s ‘build around him’ talk

    “Paul is a fantastic kid, so hopefully we can build the team around him and keep him.” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been talking up the possibility of making Pogba a focal point even since he was preparing to take his Molde side to Hibernian in the Europa League last August. Having managed him at reserve level with United almost a decade ago, Solskjaer has always felt he knows how to get something out of Pogba. And, having spent so long broadcasting impassioned pleas to be given the opportunity to build a team which promotes the qualities of Pogba, it would do nothing for the manager’s credibility if his centrepiece star was sold only a matter of months after he has been handed the reins. Solskjaer has a vision for this United side, and Pogba is at the heart of it.
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    SELL HIM – He’s a player who needs to be built around

    As a quick retort to the previous point, it is beginning to grate on many that Pogba can only seem to deliver positive performances when everything is put in place to help him. When Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera found some form earlier in the year, Pogba thrived in Solskjaer’s system. But the 26-year-old has been nowhere near as successful since his midfield allies have struggled with injuries, and just as his star shone brighter for Juventus when given the luxury of playing alongside Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, at United he seems unable to get close to top form when Solskjaer is forced to change up his resources in midfield. Should United really be building their whole medium-term future around a player who can perform when others are performing but has yet to show he can deliver when his side are in search of a lift?
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    KEEP HIM – He has the perfect combination of youth and experience

    What Paul Pogba definitely does have is experience, along with a track record as a winner. Having collected four league titles among eight total trophies at Juventus and becoming a World Cup winner with France last summer, the number six has already done more in the last seven years than many players achieve in their entire career. It was a source of some amusement during the TV coverage of this week’s Manchester derby defeat when some pundits claimed he should be showing the way for young players like Jesse Lingard – who is three months Pogba’s elder – but that just goes to show that Pogba has the perfect balance of youth and experience if only it is harnessed well for United’s betterment. Why is it a manager’s look-out if he cannot get the best out of some players but Pogba’s fault if United haven’t managed to replicate France and Juventus’ successes with the midfielder in their ranks?
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    SELL HIM – A potentially destructive influence

    Perhaps one reason why he has not had much success with United so far is his personality. His problems during the reign of Jose Mourinho have been documented far and wide, but it would seem that the change in management has not dealt with 100 per cent of his troubles. To many outsiders, including prominent former United players who are generally well informed as to issues on the Carrington training ground, Pogba is considered a problem player. His marketing appeal has made him an icon of the modern game, but that can have its negative connotations if his every move, every pass and every social media post become even more-forensically scrutinised than United’s fortunes.
  9. KEEP HIM – Why weaken yourselves, and potentially strengthen a rival?

    United might not seem like much of a challenge to Real Madrid in their current guise, even when considering the Blancos’ own issues this season, but the two clubs are aiming to battle it out on the same platform. Like Solskjaer, Zinedine Zidane is looking to make a host of changes to the Madrid squad this summer in a bid to repeat the successes of his previous spell in charge and United handing them Pogba would only help the legendary former player’s cause. Regardless of what you think of Pogba’s current form, his ability to deliver at the key moment is a vital asset that it would be crazy to give up on just halfway through his contract while strengthening a probable rival for years to come in the process.

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    SELL HIM – Mino Raiola’s influence

    “I distrusted him from the moment I met him… He and I were like oil and water.”

    Sir Alex Ferguson’s opinion of Mino Raiola has never been a secret, and it came as a surprise to many that United conducted such extensive business with Pogba’s agent in the summer of 2016 when signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. With both the former and the latter having left Old Trafford inside of two years, if the Frenchman were to depart then it would at least mean the club get a breather from one of the most divisive figures in the industry. Ever since helping to bring Pogba to United, Raiola has been an unsettling influence in the background and his apparent promise to his client that he would ‘park’ the player at United for three years and then negotiate him a move to Real Madrid says much about the pre-meditated havoc he can look to cause.