Manchester United will make a decision on Paul Pogba’s future at the end of the season, if a call has not already been made, says Andy Cole, with the World Cup-winning midfielder considered to be a subject of “unfair criticism”.
Speculation regarding the Frenchman’s ongoing presence at Old Trafford continues to rage due to events on and off the field.
Pogba has struggled to produce his best since returning to England for a second spell in 2016, with a club-record £89 million ($120m) price tag appearing to weigh heavy on his shoulders.
The constant criticism aimed in his direction has been difficult for the 27-year-old to stomach, with admissions made that he would be open to taking on a new challenge – with Real Madrid still part of his sporting dream.
Comments from his outspoken agent, Mino Raiola, have also kept the rumour mill ticking over, with Pogba’s second spell in Manchester said to be “over”.
A man who has rediscovered his spark of late has been quick to counter those claims, with the France international adamant that he remains “1000 per cent” committed to the United cause.
That may not be enough to keep him in his current surroundings for much longer, with some big decisions fast approaching.
Pogba is only tied to a contract through to 2022, meaning that he could be offloaded next summer while he still retains full market value.
Cole admits he will be sad to see a proven performer go if a sale is to be sanctioned, with the former Red Devils striker of the opinion that a charismatic figure has become an easy scapegoat during times of trouble for United as a collective.
“I’m one of Paul Pogba’s biggest fans and I think he’s a fantastic player. I also think he gets a lot of unfair criticism,” Cole told The Target Men Podcast.
“Pogba left a winning Juventus team to return to Manchester United wanting to help the club return to its glory days. He wanted nothing more than to compete and win trophies at the club.
“Pogba has been back at Manchester United for four years and the club are probably no closer to winning the Premier League now than they were when he joined, so it’s a transfer that hasn’t worked out as either club or player would have hoped.
“I expect that decision [on his future] to be made this summer, if it hasn’t been already.”
Pogba caught the eye in his last outing against Sheffield United and will be looking to shine again when the Red Devils rekindle their rivalry with old adversaries Leeds at Old Trafford on Sunday.