Paul Pogba may have been out of sight at Manchester United recently, but he is rarely out of mind. An enigmatic character capable of generating as many headlines off the field as he is on it, and there is plenty of debate raging around the Frenchman at present.
Uncertainty surrounding the midfielder’s future is providing copy aplenty for gossip columns across the globe, with questions continuing to be asked of how long a World Cup winner will be sticking around at Old Trafford. Will he sign a new contract or will a fresh challenge be sought in 2022? For now, nobody knows.
There is plenty of speculation to be found regarding an offer of fresh terms, with the Red Devils understandably reluctant to see a player that remains their most elaborate purchase walk away for nothing this summer.
On his day, Pogba remains a performer with match-altering ability. Said days have been few and far between during a second spell in English football, but mercurial talents can be forgiven for veering wildly between sublime and ridiculous.
United have hardly been models of consistency as a collective since Sir Alex Ferguson headed into retirement back in 2013, with the latest odds at William Hill pricing them at 15/8 for a top-four finish in the current campaign.
𝙰𝚢𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚘𝚏𝚞𝚙𝚜& 𝚍𝚘𝚠𝚗𝚜, 𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍& 𝚋𝚊𝚍𝚖𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚜, 𝚋𝚞𝚝𝚘𝚗𝚎𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚑𝚊𝚜𝚛𝚎𝚖𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚍𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚜𝚊𝚖𝚎: 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚏𝚞𝚕𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚐𝚎𝚗𝚞𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚜𝚞𝚙𝚙𝚘𝚛𝚝🖤🙌🏾𝚃𝚒𝚖𝚎𝚝𝚘𝚕𝚘𝚘𝚔𝚏𝚘𝚛𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚍𝚝𝚘𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟸➡️𝗬𝗲𝘀𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗿! pic.twitter.com/nICAKe3tPg
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) December 31, 2021
With there no indication that Pogba will be offloaded during the winter transfer window, the expectation is that he will be sticking around for a few more months at least. If that is to be the case, then he may yet have an important role to play in ongoing bids for Champions League qualification and major trophy triumphs.
What happens next?
A decision will, however, need to be made at some stage about what to do with an often divisive figure. United find themselves in the midst of another rebuild, with Ralf Rangnick only appointed as manager on an interim basis while there are several spots in a favoured starting XI that could do with upgrading.
A fit and firing Pogba is capable of nailing down one of those roles, but he has to be fully committed to the cause. Fresh terms would bring endless rounds of transfer rumours to a close, with colours being nailed to a mast in Manchester that intends to fly high once more.
It may that staying put becomes the only logical option for a man that has, amid some talismanic displays on an international stage, seen his star wane on the domestic front. He is not the sought-after asset he once was, with European superpowers prepared to explore alternative options.
Real Madrid have been long-standing suitors before, but they have invested in Pogba’s fellow countryman Eduardo Camavinga with one eye on the future and are currently exerting more energy in pursuit of prolific strikers such as Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
🏆 Two World Cup winners, one photo 📸
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2021
Barcelona are struggling to find the funds that have made them major players in transfer markets of the past, Paris Saint-Germain require the grit of Idrissa Gueye and Marco Verratti to complement the considerable guile of Lionel Messi, Neymar and co. and Juventus are stuck in their own serious rut.
With plenty of doors seemingly been slammed in his face, the best choice for Pogba could be to stay put. He is no longer a ‘Galactico’, the kind that Real would once have snapped up in a heartbeat, and the acclaim he was supposed to enjoy in England can still be secured if he puts his mind to rekindling United’s lost spark.