Pogba backed for Man Utd stay by ‘very close’ friend Januzaj as Juventus & Real Madrid talk fades

Paul Pogba Manchester United 2019-20
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A fellow Old Trafford academy graduate of the World Cup winner believes the France international will remain in his current surroundings

Paul Pogba has been backed to remain at Manchester United by “very close” friend Adnan Januzaj, with transfer talk around the World Cup winner starting to fade.

A parting of ways with the Red Devils appeared to be inevitable at one stage, with the France international opening a door to a new challenge in the summer of 2019.

No deal was done in that window, but speculation regarding interest from the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid continued to rage.

The coronavirus pandemic has, however, forced even big-spending clubs to rein in their recruitment ambition, while a spark has been rediscovered by those at Old Trafford.

That is helping to prevent Pogba’s head from being turned, with the opportunity there for him to strike up a productive partnership with January arrival Bruno Fernandes.

Januzaj, who came through United’s academy system alongside Pogba, believes the 27-year-old will stay put, telling Het Niuewsblad: “I think he will stay.

“I am still very close with Paul, we have known each other since childhood, when we were together in the youth team of United. Our families are also friends and keep in touch. That will never change.”

While many still see Pogba as a key man for United, Januzaj has had to spread his wings.

He left Old Trafford on a permanent basis in 2017, with former Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal having suggested that the Belgium international did not make the most of his opportunities.

Responding to that claim, the 25-year-old winger said: “Well, Louis van Gaal, I really shouldn’t defend myself against him, it’s enough to look at the statistics.

“Whenever I made the difference with an assist or a goal, I was back on the bench afterwards. It was the same with Memphis [Depay].

“If he says he has given us enough opportunities, he is not telling the truth, it is as simple as that. Fortunately, there are plenty of people at Manchester United who know how to appreciate me.”

One of those who did believe in Januzaj is United legend Ryan Giggs, who briefly took in a spell as interim boss prior to Van Gaal’s arrival.

On a fellow wideman, and one of the most inspirational figures in the Red Devils’ history, Januzaj said: “Ryan Giggs is one of the people I owe most to at Manchester United.

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“When he was still a player, he gave me advice and I also learnt a lot from him when he was a coach.

“When he stopped playing, he said I deserved his shirt number 11. I will always be grateful for that gesture. It was a great token of appreciation.

“Now we have less contact, but I will always be able to contact him. He’s an example.”