Guillem Balague Says Paul Pogba Wants to Leave Manchester United for Barcelona

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2018

Manchester United's Paul Pogba goes off the pitch after the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Man Utd won the game 3-2. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has said he believes Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester United for Barcelona, as the midfielder wants to play with Lionel Messi.

Balague explained the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner is not enjoying the style of football under coach Jose Mourinho, and a switch to the Camp Nou would make him "happy" once again.

In his column for Goal, Balague wrote the relationship between Mourinho and Pogba is the central reason for the player wanting to desert Old Trafford after just two years. The Frenchman returned to the Theatre of Dreams from Juventus for a world-record transfer fee after leaving United to move to Serie A.

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

Balague wrote:

"The root cause of their relationship breakdown is the ‘carrot and stick’ approach to man-management employed by Mourinho with the aim of getting the most out of his players."

"Mourinho really couldn’t care less how he is perceived by his players so long as they carry out his orders and deliver the desired results on the field. For the two-time Champions League winner, the end has always justified the means."

"That philosophy worked well for Mourinho in the past but not anymore, not at Old Trafford. The game has moved on; players have changed, with Pogba the perfect case in point."

"He is now a World Cup final winner, an industry in himself, a label, a brand, and certainly not the sort of person to be intimidated into thinking he should be subservient to his manager."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United shoots from an overhead kick during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on October 6, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Cli
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Balague added Pogba is enthusiastic about linking up with Messi in club football, but questioned whether the United player would suit Barca's style.

The journalist wrote: "Pogba has made no secret of his desire to play with Lionel Messi but if he was to actually find himself in the same side as the Argentine attacker, he would need to alter his game."

Pogba received a prestigious nomination for the 2018 Ballon d'Or on Monday, but after a difficult spell in the Premier League, the recognition was clearly for his displays with France.

The 25-year-old has said he doesn't believe he should be in contention for the individual honour, per Sky Sports Premier League:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

Paul Pogba admits he doesn't deserve to win the Ballon d'Or - with three of his French team-mates more likely winners. More: https://t.co/cd7HaeF7zy https://t.co/eyHK1ewjv9

In years gone by, no player could challenge the dominance of the manager of the Red Devils, as former boss Sir Alex Ferguson ruled with an iron fist.

However, those days have gone. Mourinho is a coach who lost traction twice at Chelsea, and at Real Madrid, and current results have placed him in a delicate situation.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward might have to decide who he values more—a failing manager or a global superstar that sells shirts around the planet.

Despite United's poor form in recent weeks, Pogba has continued to be his side's best player, but it's the wider tactical dynamic at Old Trafford that's displaying the cracks.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United holds Eric Bailly of Manchester United as he replaces Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester United at Turf Moor on Se
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mourinho will have to hit the ground running after the international break, maintaining the spirit that saw United come back from 2-0 down at home to win 3-2 against Newcastle United in the Premier League.

The victory was a shot in the arm for the manager, but it's questionable whether the Special One can motivate his players to keep him in the job for the long-term.

Pogba came back to United because he has an emotional attachment to Old Trafford, and he will only leave if the team do not play the brand of football that's synonymous with the Ferguson era.