Pogba eyed Barcelona move in the past but won’t leave Man Utd now – Pires

Getty Images
The World Cup winner’s fellow Frenchman doubts that “the best player” at Old Trafford will be looking for another big-money transfer any time soon

Paul Pogba may have eyed a move to Barcelona in the past, claims Robert Pires, but the “best player at Manchester United” is now being backed to stay put and calm any exit fears at Old Trafford.

Serious questions were asked of the France international’s future heading towards the January transfer window.

A return to Juventus was mooted by many, including some of those in Turin, while long-standing interest from the likes of Barca and Real Madrid resurfaced.

Article continues below

In the end, the removal of Jose Mourinho from United’s managerial hot seat presented Pogba with the clean slate he craved and he has gone on to flourish under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 25-year-old is enjoying his football again and, having become a talismanic presence for the Red Devils, is being backed to remain in his current surroundings for the foreseeable future.

Fellow Frenchman and World Cup winner Pires told bwin of the mercurial midfielder: “I think Paul Pogba is the best player at Manchester United and has always had the potential to become the best midfielder in the world.

“Pogba has played very well and been almost unstoppable since Solskjaer arrived at the club. He has been given more freedom, he’s encouraged to take more risks without fear and is playing further up the pitch.

“He’s a very good athlete and it’s not surprising to see him play like this when he is allowed to do so.

“It’s difficult to understand why Mourinho limited him so much when it’s clear to everyone how many attributes he has. He is an all-round midfielder who is also a leader in the dressing room.

“I don’t think Manchester United fans need to worry about Paul Pogba leaving the club.

“I think there was a time when he was eyeing a move to Barcelona and I wouldn’t be surprised if his agent still is, but the best thing Pogba could do would be to stay at Manchester United.

“I think he can continue to improve so much more at a club where he has stability and can be the main man on and off the pitch.”

Pogba is tied to a contract at United through to 2021, with that agreement including a 12-month option if no long-term extension is agreed before that point.

He has 14 goals to his name this season – a personal best return – and is helping Solskjaer’s side to chase down a top-four finish in the Premier League and FA Cup glory.

The Red Devils also remain in the Champions League for now, but Pogba will play no part in the return date of a last-16 encounter with Paris Saint-Germain having been sent off during a 2-0 first-leg defeat at Old Trafford.