Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United will not be forced into selling Paul Pogba – despite the French midfielder’s wish to leave Old Trafford in search of a “new challenge”.
Agent Mino Raiola said on Tuesday that United have been aware of Pogba’s desire to leave for a long time and added hopefully there will soon be a satisfying solution for all parties, amid reported interest from Juventus and Real Madrid.
But Solskjaer insists Pogba, who flew out with the rest of the United squad on their tour to Australia, has been nothing but professional since reporting back for pre-season.
Asked about Raiola’s remarks, Solskjaer said: Well there has been loads of talks and speculation, about many of our players – both ins and outs. For me, it is business as usual.
When you are at Man United you expect these things to pop up in the summer. I have spoken to Pogba and spoken to Romelu. I have spoken to all of the players over the summer, as you do.
As far as I’m aware we don’t have any bids for any of our players. Most of our players have got long contracts. We are Man United – we do not have to sell players.
Solskjaer also accused the media of having an agenda against Pogba, citing the coverage of the 26-year-old appearing to have a minor disagreement with United team-mate Jesse Lingard on Tuesday as an example.
Paul has never been a concern for me. When he is on the pitch, he is working hard, he is a true professional and he is a proud boy, Solskjaer added.
I can’t be sitting here talking about Paul all the time and what agents are saying. We have got a few years left of his contract and, for me, he has been fantastic when he has come back in training.
There is an agenda against Paul but he is a top, top bloke. He is a great professional, there have never been any problems and he has got a heart of gold.
For example, Jesse and Paul yesterday walking around and it is portrayed as a fight between the two boys. I know you are here to sell papers and sell stories but that is nothing. No problems between the boys at all. They are all professional.
Doubts also surround the long-term future of another one of United’s marquee players – goalkeeper David de Gea.
United have made an improved contract offer to De Gea, who has one year remaining on his contract, which would make him the highest paid goalkeeper in the world.
The Spaniard has yet to sign the new deal but Solskjaer is optimistic he can be convinced to do so.
David has had a summer where he has been negotiating and thinking about his contract, Solskjaer said. We hope we can get it sorted soon. I am positive.
Of course with David I have said many times how lucky I am and how happy we are to have him in the goal so we hope he stays here for many years.
After United’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona last April, Solskjaer promised to make tough decisions and be ruthless in reshaping his squad this summer.
But United have so far only managed to make two signings, Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and Daniel James from Swansea, while Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have left on free transfers.
When reminded of his remarks in April, Solskjaer replied: I can see your point but doing business in the football market is not going to be a quick fix overnight. We have got players here who I trust. They are fantastic players.
There are loads of players here that I know are going to be successful at this club. We have signed two fantastic players – Dan and Aaron – with fantastic speed, hunger and quality that will be part of that.
We are still in the market and looking to do some business but we are patient. We are Man United. We don’t have to sell and we don’t have to overpay either. You have to have the right players for the right price.