Manchester United should sell Paul Pogba in the summer rather than hand him a new long-term contract at Old Trafford, reckons Jamie Carragher, if Bruno Fernandes is going to continue to be the team’s main playmaker. Pogba has dropped out of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting eleven most recently and only came on for the final 10 minutes at Everton last weekend.
The France midfielder is out of contract in June 2022 after a one-year extension clause was activated last month and United will have to open talks over a longer-term deal in order to prevent losing him on the cheap this coming summer.
But Pogba’s long-term Old Trafford future is uncertain having started just once in United’s past four Premier League games with Bruno Fernandes trusted as the team’s creator in chief instead.
And former Liverpool and England defender Carragher thinks United should offload the 27-year-old – the club’s record signing at £89million – in the upcoming summer rather than hand him a new big-money deal if Solskjaer sees Fernandes as his talisman.
“If someone said to me, I could only play well because of a certain manager, I’d be embarrassed,” Carragher told talkSPORT when asked if Pogba is simply playing under the wrong manager in Solskjaer.
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“People take credit, coaches and managers for different players, maybe bringing them through, or having them at their peak.
“But if I felt that my career would fall down because I never had a certain coach or manager… how well I did was down to me. And when I didn’t play well, that was down to me, I wouldn’t blame a coach.
“Pogba’s fans are saying that Jose [Mourinho] is too defensive and Ole isn’t a top-level manager, but for me, I’d be looking at myself.
“He’s played enough games for Manchester United, they changed the system and his role in that team so often now, to get him in the team and I think finally, I think Ole, rightly so has said: ‘No, I’m going to play 4-2-3-1. I’m going to play Fernandes as my creative player’.
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“I’ve been on record that I do not believe Pogba and Fernandes can play in the same team. So if you’re going to play Fernandes, he’s been really good since he joined in January, I’d be looking to take the money for Pogba.”
He added: “The fact we’re still talking about, ‘What is Paul Pogba’s best position?’, when he’s been at the club for four years, I think that tells you he’s never done well enough in any position or tactical set-ups, that different managers have had at Manchester United.
“When I look at it now, would I pick Paul Pogba in the Manchester United team? I wouldn’t. He came with a huge transfer fee, but I don’t think he’s a great player.
“When I say that, I’ve said it a few times on Monday Night Football, people say, ‘well he’s won the World Cup’. I get that, I understand that, but he’s been in our league, when he came in I wanted him to have the impact of what [Frank] Lampard had at Chelsea, what Stevie [Gerrard] had with Liverpool, what Yaya Toure had with Man City.
“Those players drive their teams to titles and European Cups. And when you come to Manchester United as the world record transfer fee – and I know you could say the other players aren’t great or this manager or that – when you’re that man that is seen as the man to take United to the next level. And United going to the next level is going back to winning titles or European Cups.
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“People may say that is too much pressure to put on one man. But that’s what we were told was coming. This package, the most expensive player in the world, he can do everything in midfield.
“He’s played for Juventus, he’s playing in Champions League finals for them. And it just hasn’t happened for him. And if it was me, I’d be looking to move him on.”
Speaking after Pogba came on as a substitute and gave away a penalty from which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal earlier this month, Solskjaer said: “Every player is frustrated with himself and disappointed after a defeat.
“We need consistency from every one of our players, that’s what we want.
“Paul’s been going through a difficult period with an injury last season and Covid now, he’s working up to fitness. I think we’ve seen plenty of positives lately so hopefully that can continue.”
Pogba has made 11 appearances in league and cup competitions this season, scoring one goal and setting up another two, though only five of those have been starts.
The Frenchman may face an increased challenge to win back his starting spot once summer signing Donny van de Beek finally settles and makes a real impact at United.
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