Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is concerned by the influence Paul Pogba wields over the younger members of his squad at Old Trafford, sources have told Metro.co.uk.
The Frenchman confirmed his desire to seek a ‘new challenge’ earlier this summer and his agent, Mino Raiola, claimed last week that Pogba is ‘in the process’ of leaving the club.
United have no intention of allowing Pogba to leave and doubt there is a buyer on the market that will meet their £150million valuation of the 26-year-old.
Solskjaer has given some consideration to handing Pogba the captain’s armband, but he was overlooked in favour of Juan Mata during the second half of United’s 2-0 win against Perth Glory on Saturday.
The Norwegian was angry at the midfielder’s decision to go public with his desire to leave the club while on commercial duties for adidas in June, and fears his authority could be undermined by making Pogba captain when he remains determined to leave the club.
The 46-year-old has taken a softer approach to dealing with Pogba than his predecessor Jose Mourinho but Metro.co.uk understands Solskjaer is increasingly concerned by the example Pogba has set to the younger players at the club.
Pogba is a respected figure at the Theatre of Dreams with academy players said to be in ‘awe’ of the Frenchman.
While such deference can, on occasion, be utilised in a positive way, some of the more experienced players in the dressing room feel the level of adoration is ‘unhealthy’ and Solskjaer is wary of indulging Pogba any further.
Solskjaer on United’s next captain
Ashley Young is the favourite to be handed the armband but Solskjaer is expected to name at least one deputy given the 34-year-old is expected to play a bit-part role next term following Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s arrival.
Solskjaer confirmed after the win in Perth that Pogba is one of a number of players under consideration but it’s likely that he’ll need to commit his immediate future to the club before such a decision is made.
United remain hopeful of making further signings this summer to add to the acquisitions of Daniel James and Wan-Bissaka.
The club have had a £70m bid rejected by Leicester City for Harry Maguire but are expected to make an improved offer in the next week.
Solskjaer is considering ending the club’s interest in Sean Longstaff after Newcastle United demanded in excess of £50m for the 21-year-old.
However, Southampton ace Mario Lemina is not currently under consideration with the club distancing themselves from a move for the Gabon international.
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