Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended midfielder Paul Pogba in a press conference in Perth, Australia, saying the media has an agenda against him. Solskjaer also confirmed there have been no bids for the former Juventus man.
Per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has stated his client's intention to leave the club. Solskjaer praised the 26-year-old, however, saying he's not concerned about the Frenchman:
"What I have to say about Paul, for example, it looks like it's gonna be a media, I don't wanna call it...but it's an agenda against Paul. He's a top, top bloke. He's a great, great professional, he's never been any problems, he's got a heart of gold. And, for example, Jesse and Paul yesterday walking around, and it's portrayed as a fight between the two boys. And I know you're here to sell players and sell stories, but there's no problems between the boys at all, they're all professional. Pre-season has been very good so far.
"I'm here to talk about the whole team, pre-season and the season coming. Paul's never put himself out of the team, he's always wanted to play, he's given his best and I can't report anything.
"Agents talk all of the time and, as I said, we've not had any bids, from any clubs, that's all I can say about this matter.
"Paul's never been a concern for me. When he's on the pitch, he's working hard, he's a true professional, he's a proud boy. Same answer again, I can't be sitting here talking about Paul and what agents are saying. We've got a few years left of his contract, and he's been fantastic since he's come back for training."
Reuters Top News shared video of the press conference:
Solskjaer added United are in a position where they don't have to sell their players who are on long-term contracts. Pogba's deal runs until 2021, and the Red Devils have an option for an additional year.
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According to La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Marca), Real Madrid and Juventus are the most likely destinations for Pogba should he leave Old Trafford this summer. The France international has already left United for Turin once in his career, only to return as the then-most expensive player in the world in 2016.
The homecoming hasn't worked out as the Red Devils would have hoped, and some fans have turned against Pogba, per Luckhurst. The midfielder frequently struggled under former manager Jose Mourinho, and consistency has been an issue under Solskjaer as well.
Per Sky Sports Premier League, football writer Andy Mitten believes Pogba should stay at the club to make up for his poor form last season:
Despite his desire to leave, Pogba has travelled to Australia with the team and is taking part in pre-season:
As the club's biggest star and record purchase, Pogba is a crucial member of the club both on and off the pitch.
He's the team's most talented midfielder and has been among the Red Devils' best performers when on form. For all his struggles, he still scored an impressive 13 Premier League goals and added nine assists last season.
His commercial value and status, coupled with his long-term contract, mean the Red Devils value him at €180 million (roughly £162 million), according to Marca (h/t Goal):
Such a valuation could be a problem for both Juventus and Real. The former are expected to sign Ajax's Matthijs de Ligt, and reportedly opted to sign Adrien Rabiot over Pogba to save money for the transfer of the defender, per Football Italia.
Real have already spent big on Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes this summer, so they may not have the budget to smash their own transfer record to land Pogba as well.