Premier League English

Paul Pogba was deflated and uncommitted after being snubbed on text messages over Man Utd contract

The summer of 2020 was largely instrumental in determining French national Paul Pogba’s long-term future at Manchester United as text messages have emerged over his demands on the club through his previous boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The bell has sounded on the Frenchman’s turbulent six-year stint at Old Trafford which was marked by both controversy and patchy spells of form and fitness.

The midfielder had started off brightly under Solskjaer, before soon being derailed and ruled out for long spells through injury, featuring in all of just 16 Premier League matches that campaign and only twice from the end of September through to June, after the league’s Project Restart after its postponement due to the pandemic.

None would deny that Pogba’s form in those final weeks of the campaign were eye-catching as he worked well with Bruno Fernandes and helped United record a top three finish. That had been one of the Frenchman’s strongest runs of form during his time in Manchester, one that appeared to breathe some new life into his career at the club when he had looked certain to depart that summer.

The Athletic has now outlined how the central midfielder had quietly sent multiple text messages to Solskjaer that summer with the request to push for his contract renewal despite still having 12 months remaining on that deal but was determined to pen a new agreement that would secure his long-term future at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer responded by insisting that he had informed the club’s board of the situation and was pushing for them to renew Pogba’s contract but it was to no avail as United’s directors opted against this and instead triggered the one-year extension on the player’s contract. Hence Pogba would remain at the club through to the summer of 2022, rather than 2021 and his £290k-per-week contract would remain unchanged. This situation had allegedly left the player ‘deflated’ and changed his long-term thinking at the club.

Although the following year saw United offering a new longer-term deal to Pogba after they enjoyed their strongest campaign in years, the Frenchman – having played a bigger role despite being limited to just 21 Premier League starts – no longer had neither the ambition nor the desire to commit to the club.

Now the French World Cup winner has left United for the second time in his career on his Bosman status. Admittedly it has largely been an underwhelming stint for what had been United’s record signing, with the highlights and his best form at the club being brief, at best.

Pogba returned to United after four years at Juventus following a club-record £89million transfer in 2016. The midfielder went on to make 226 appearances and scoring 39 goals during his second stint with the club – in a spell which was disrupted by losses of fitness and form.