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Wantaway Pogba causing no issues at Man Utd as Solskjaer gets ready to reintegrate World Cup winner

14:00 GMT 12/12/2019
Paul Pogba Manchester United 2019-20
Even though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are improving without the Frenchman in the side, the Red Devils are not considering a winter sale

Paul Pogba still wants to leave Manchester United but he is likely to remain at Old Trafford until at least the end of the season, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to reintroduce the Frenchman into his starting XI upon his return from injury.

The France international has been sidelined with an ankle problem since the end of September and has taken some time off in Dubai, where he met Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, which only intensified speculation surrounding Pogba's future and a potential transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Given he has also been pictured playing basketball with NBA stars, there have been wholly unsubstantiated claims that Pogba's injury is a ruse and that United and the player have come to an agreement that will allow the 26-year-old to sit out the first half of the season until a move to Madrid can be arranged during the winter window.

However, there is absolutely no indication from sources within Old Trafford that Pogba is malingering or that his conduct has upset Solskjaer or his employers.

On the contrary, the manager is looking forward to welcoming the 26-year-old back into his starting line-up, with club sources confirming that Solskjaer still believes that the club's exciting young forward line of Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial would only benefit further from having Pogba in midfield alongside the rapidly-improving McTominay and Fred.

There is certainly no suggestion that Pogba has fallen out of favour with either his boss or his team-mates.

While Pogba is closer to some groups of players than others at United, there is no truth in the rumour that his colleagues would prefer him to move on.

Alexis Sanchez is perhaps the only player with whom there was a genuine estrangement, which is why he was allowed to join Inter during the summer at a significant financial cost to the club.

Pogba, though, has not been ostracised at all. He attends games and interacts with players off the pitch and on social media without any issues.

As a result, United are looking forward to Pogba's imminent return to full fitness, with Solskjaer recently admitting that he hopes to have the World Cup winner available for selection before the end of the month.

The former striker is pragmatic about the whole situation, which will give him the chance to keep Pogba until the end of the season before eventually allowing him to leave for the right price.

Solskjaer wants his best players fit and happy, and he knows that, when on form, Pogba is one of the best creative midfielders in the world.

There is obviously still room for him in United's starting XI and, thus, no desire to cash in on the former Juventus ace in January. Indeed, a new contract would potentially suit everyone, including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who will be key to determining what happens to Pogba.

Solskjaer would be prepared to countenance selling Pogba provided he is given funds to reinvest, and he has made clear that he wants only players willing to give their all on the pitch and in training, as evidenced by some of the big-name players he let go last summer.

Consequently, Solskjaer would be unwilling to retain Pogba should he still want to depart at the end of the season.

For now, though, Woodward remains steadfast in his belief that keeping Pogba at the club is integral to the commercial viability of his plan to keep United front and centre on social media and attractive to advertisers.

Woodward, therefore, would be willing to commit plenty of money to paying Pogba the kind of salary that might persuade the midfielder to stay in Manchester.

However, Pogba is still seeking the "new challenge" he spoke about last summer and his agent, Mino Raiola, has made no secret of his desire to secure his client a transfer, either back to Juventus or, ideally, to Madrid.

Money will be an issue, though, as United will not let him go on the cheap. Madrid, meanwhile, would find it difficult to justify paying an enormous fee for Pogba if he does not rediscover his best form during the second half of the season.

His contract does not end until 2021 either, meaning United are in a strong negotiating position.

Pogba's long-term future is, therefore, unclear but there is presently nobody at Old Trafford trying to move him on, and certainly not in January.

The executive vice-chairman, manager and players are all ready, willing and able to help their star player get back to his very best form. They know how much they can benefit from a fit and firing Pogba.

Only a disastrous return from injury or unambiguously huge transfer offer – which is unlikely to materialise this winter – would do anything to alter that opinion.