Report: Paul Pogba Has Manchester United 'Exit Strategy' Amid Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Paul Pogba of Manchester United looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Manchester United and BSC Young Boys at Old Trafford on November 27, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba reportedly has a Red Devils "exit strategy," with his agent Mino Raiola said to be trying to pave the way for a move away from Old Trafford.

According to Tuttosport (h/t Sport Witness), while the situation around Pogba is calm at the moment and one of "tranquillity," Raiola is said to be working behind the scenes to try to structure an exit for his client that is "economically acceptable" to the Red Devils.

It's added by Tuttosport that the relationship between Pogba and Jose Mourinho has descended "from open war to cold war."

Sport Witness relayed how the story was covered in the Italian press:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Paul Pogba | ‘Open war to cold war’ – Player has ‘exit strategy’ to get out of Manchester United. Ceasefire. Tuttosport‘s Thursday take. https://t.co/Zt4sIhpg7Z #mufc https://t.co/FSK9iEq3L3

There's been speculation surrounding Pogba since the summer, with Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail reporting in August the France international wanted out of Old Trafford and was keen on a move to Barcelona.

While Pogba has performed well in bursts this season, he's been stripped of the vice-captaincy by Mourinho and was caught on camera having a spat with the coach on the training pitch. 

In addition to Barcelona, former club Juventus have also been noted as possible suitors for the midfielder. According to Corriere dello Sport (h/t Metro), Pogba has told some of his former Juve team-mates that he wants to rejoin the Bianconeri.

Pogba arrived at United for a club-record fee in the summer of 2015 having developed a reputation as one of the best midfielders in the world. While his talent is indisputable, he's mixed moments of brilliance with flurries of frustration in his second spell at Old Trafford.

Per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, Mourinho has had no issue leaving the 25-year-old on the bench for some crucial fixtures:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

It's a contentious team from defence to attack with effectively the three most expensive players (Pogba, Lukaku and Sanchez) dropped/dropped altogether. Piles pressure on the team and maybe that's what Mourinho wants. #mufc

Still, United's best performances in recent years have come with Pogba at the heart of the team.

When he's at his best, Pogba is an irresistible footballer. He is physical enough to hold off most opponents in the middle of the pitch, although his technical ability and inventiveness on the ball sets him apart from many other players who operate in the same area of the field.

Those qualities would make the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and the majority of other clubs in European football keen to acquire him. After all, in a different setup for France at the FIFA World Cup in the summer, Pogba excelled.

Rob Blanchette can see why the Frenchman and other key players may want out of the club, too:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

Current results will dictate we lose De Gea and Pogba. Also Martial. So there's sadder days to come. We are a historical giant but like many teams before us, we're in danger of slipping into insignificance. A toxic blend of the Glazers & Mourinho is killing the team. #mufc

Despite the murmurings, you suspect United would be reluctant to sell someone who is a major asset for them both on and off the field.

At 25, Pogba still has his best years ahead of him, and the club will be hopeful he can settle into a consistent groove for the remainder of the season. If he does, Pogba can be the catalyst for a strong finish to the season for the Red Devils.