Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has deflected questions over the future of France midfielder Paul Pogba, saying that Pogba has “never been a concern” for him and that Manchester United doesn’t have to sell players.
Pogba, who is considering a possible move, with Real Madrid or Juventus mentioned prominently, was among the players who arrived in Perth on Monday for a 10-day, two-match tour in Western Australia. Pogba said last month in Tokyo that he feels ready for a change despite him having two years remaining on his contract.
“There has been loads of talk and speculation, of course, about all our players or many of our players, both ins and outs,” Solskjaer said Wednesday during his first media conference in two months. “For me, it’s business as usual. When you’re Man United, you expect all these things to pop up in the summer.
“As far as I am aware and up to now, we don’t have any bids for any of our players so there’s no reason to say other than Paul — or most of our players — have long contracts. We are Man United. We don’t have to sell players.”
Solskjaer said he hasn’t noticed any difference in Pogba’s demeanor or effort during training.
“When he’s on the pitch he’s working hard, he’s a true professional and he’s a proud boy,” Solskjaer said. “He’s been fantastic so far in training. Paul has never been a concern for me.”
Manchester United finished in sixth place in the Premier League this season, 21 points behind champion Liverpool.
“We know last year was disappointing but we know what we have to aim for this year,” Solskjaer said. “We have to close the gap in a very competitive league and we have trophies to play for. United is about bouncing back and pre-season has been very encouraging so far.”
Solskjaer was also speaking for the first time since the arrivals of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
“We’ve got some fantastic players and there’s loads of players here that will be successful at this club,” he said. “We’ve signed two fantastic players in Daniel and Aaron with speed and quality, and they’re hungry to succeed.”
Man United signed defender Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace in a deal worth around $60 million at the end of June. The 21-year-old Wan-Bissaka, who made 46 appearances in all competitions for Palace, was Solskjaer’s second signing following the arrival of winger James from Swansea earlier in the month.
The English Premier League team plays its first match on Saturday against the A-League’s Perth Glory. On July 17, Leeds United will be the opposition at the same Perth Stadium.
Pogba’s comments in Tokyo last month suggested the 26-year-old wanted to play elsewhere.
“For me, you know I’ve been here for three years in Manchester, it’s been great,” Pogba said then. ”(But) I think for me it can be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
On Tuesday, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said he was hopeful that Pogba would soon be allowed to leave Man United.
“The player (Pogba) has done nothing wrong,” Raiola said. “He has been respectful and professional in every way. The club has known his feeling for a long time. Hopefully there will be soon a satisfying solution.”
Solskjaer dismissed those comments.
“Agents talk all the time,” he said Wednesday. “Paul is a top bloke, a great professional. He has never put himself out of the team. He has always wanted to play and he always gives his best.”