2018/19 was a disappointing season for Manchester United as they went trophyless. Jose Mourinho, the most successful manager since Sir Alex Ferguson, was sacked and was replaced by fan favourite but inexperienced Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. The baby-faced assassin had worked wonders when being handed the reins of the club on an interim basis. Manchester United went on a fabulous winning run that included that comeback against PSG in the Champions League. This period also saw an improvement in the form of various players like Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.
However, as soon as Solksjaer was handed the first-team job permanently, the club's form dipped and the performances started faltering. United could only win a handful of matches after that win in Paris, and as a result, failed to qualify for the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.
Cometh the summer, cometh the rumours. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had already signalled for a squad revamp in the summer, with many underperforming players expected to depart. Adding to the drama, Paul Pogba said in an interview that he was looking for a new challenge, and the rumour mill went rife about his next destination. Juventus and Real Madrid were mooted as two possible destinations for Paul Pogba, as the news of the Frenchman's departure from Old Trafford looked imminent. However, the English transfer window shut before the start of the season, and Paul Pogba remained a Manchester United player.
The 2019-20 season started with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Chelsea, with Paul Pogba contributing with two assists. After playing a few matches, however, Paul Pogba was sidelined due to injuries. With no definite return date on the anvil, Paul Pogba stayed out of the Manchester United Matchday squads for months. During this period, there was also a very public spat between super-agent Mino Raiola and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, with the agent hinting that Paul Pogba's future was away from Carrington.
Manchester United, who suffered from an inconsistent run of form, brought in Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP. The move paid immediate dividends, and Manchester United enjoyed an upturn in fortune, going unbeaten in 11 games, during which period they scored 29 goals scored and kept eight clean sheets. This run of the club prompted new reports to emanate that claimed that Paul Pogba wants to stay at Manchester United and would be open to signing a new deal.
On that note, let us have a look at five reasons why Paul Pogba might end up staying at Manchester United next season.
Five reasons why Paul Pogba may stay at Manchester United next season:
#1: The impact of Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation since arriving at Manchester United. His transfer saga was a long drawn one, but he finally ended up moving to Old Trafford in January for £46 million. He has recently adjudged the EPL Player of the Month for February, and it was clear to see why. Fernandes' two goals and three assists during the month are the most goal contributions by any player in the EPL in that month, as Manchester United began reaping immediate benefits from their latest acquisition.
Fernandes likes to play further up the pitch to create chances for his attackers, making through balls and shooting from a distance. Fernandes' drive, focus and ability on the ball can free up Paul Pogba to unleash the attacking side of his game.
With a player like Bruno Fernandes in the team, Paul Pogba would not be saddled with sole creative and playmaking responsibilities. This, in turn, could enable the Frenchman to contribute more upfront. Just like Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes creates a ton of chances and chips in with important goals too.
Paul Pogba has generally struggled with lesser players around and has shone with better ones by his side - both at France and Juventus. The Manchester United squad is a work in progress but has a lot of potential. They could transform into a world-beater with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes working in tandem. In the immediate future, the duo can coexist and flourish together, helping Manchester United return to the Premier League summit.
#2: Lure of Champions League football
Every footballer in Europe wants to play at the top level, and it doesn't get better than the UEFA Champions League. Paul Pogba is no different in this respect.
Paul Pogba has been wanting to win European Club competition's top prize and come close to doing so with Juventus. At Manchester United, Paul Pogba has played in the UEFA Europa League twice in four years. United were looking to spend another season in Europe's second-tier club competition until the news of Manchester City's Champions League ban came about. That news coincided with the club's upturn in form as they closed the gap on the top four.
United are vying with the likes of Leicester City and Chelsea for a Champions League spot next season. However, as things stand today, even if United finish fifth, they'll be guaranteed Champions League football in 2020-21 unless Manchester City's European ban gets suspended.
Another reason why Manchester United could be frontrunners for securing a place in the Champions League next season is by winning the Europa League. Their 5-0 away win over LASK has more or less guaranteed United a place in the quarterfinals of the competition. With the squad that United possesses, they are one of the contenders for the title. Apart from Inter Milan, no team looks like posing a threat to United's UEL hopes, and could also mean the first trophy for OGS at United.
All these factors combined could see Paul Pogba stay at Manchester United next season.
#3: Paul Pogba has unfinished business at Manchester United
When Paul Pogba joined Manchester United from Juventus, he said that he had unfinished business in England. His first season with the club was a trophy-laden one, with United winning the League Cup and the Europa League.
Paul Pogba's second season at Manchester United saw the club go trophyless as the Frenchman scored six goals and registered ten assists in the league. The third season with Paul Pogba proved to be his best at the club as he scored 16 goals and made 11 assists in all competitions, making his way to the Premier League Team of the Year.
In this season, Paul Pogba made only eight appearances. If he leaves in the summer, considering his £89 million price tag, he would automatically be branded as a failure.
However, if he decides to stay and become a part of the club's rebuild, Paul Pogba can surely play a pivotal role in a team that has a lot of potential. Even though Paul Pogba's departure looks likely every summer, only he can decide what legacy he would like to leave behind at the club.
#4: Proving the naysayers wrong
Paul Pogba is a divisive figure. Speaking solely from the talent perspective, Manchester United have a World Cup winner in their ranks. Sure enough, the Frenchman had expressed a desire to leave last summer. Sure, Paul Pogba's social media behaviour can be a little less extravagant. And, sure, at times Paul Pogba and his agent can hog the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
But Paul Pogba's technical ability on the pitch outweighs all other factors. If he has his mind in the right place, the Frenchman can be a huge asset at Manchester United. Paul Pogba, however, has a legion of fans and haters. Some of them adore Paul Pogba for the moments of magic he can unleash on the field while there are some who cringe watching him turn up with a new haircut every three months. There are a lot of United fans who want Paul Pogba gone, feeling that the team is better off without him.
However, as a player, there are few better and more complete players than Paul Pogba in his position, in the world. He's an excellent player whose vision and flair are next to none. Paul Pogba would want to prove his haters wrong, who are ready to call his stint at United a failure. If he decides to get serious and wholeheartedly supports Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's vision at the club, there's no doubt Paul Pogba can turn his United career around and convert his haters to his fans.
#5: Uncertainty in possible destinations
Juventus and Real Madrid are the two most likely destinations for Paul Pogba, with PSG being another possible one. Juventus is what Paul Pogba called home between his United stints. The Frenchman still has fond memories during his stint with the Bianconeri.
The lure of working under his idol Zinedine Zidane makes Real Madrid an exciting prospect for Paul Pogba. There have been various reports of PSG planning to build their team with a French core, and what better to do that than buying Paul Pogba.
All three clubs have the financial muscle to pay the exorbitant asking price United would ask for Paul Pogba.
However, Juventus, under Maurizio Sarri, don't need Paul Pogba as they already have Rodrigo Bentancur, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey and Sami Khedira in that position.
Paul Pogba is a colossal figure in the dressing room, and his presence might cause instability among other players. Recently Italian publication Calcio Mercato reported that Juventus are now turning to Lyon star Houssem Aouar instead of Paul Pogba. At 21 years of age and with six goals this term, Aouar would cost substantially less than Paul Pogba.
At Real Madrid, football transfers are handled by President Florentino Perez and not Zinedine Zidane. Perez is a shrewd negotiator and might not accept United's likely steep asking price for Paul Pogba.
The Real Madrid president once joked he'd never heard of Paul Pogba. Besides, there is also the massive factor of Real Madrid fans accepting Paul Pogba. Real Madrid fans are very demanding and are known to boo their players if they dish out underwhelming performances. A couple of bad performances from Paul Pogba can make the Real Madrid fans turn on the Frenchman. Furthermore, the rise of Federico Valverde may make the Spanish capital club not too enthusiastic about pursuing Paul Pogba.
It's also complicated for PSG to entice Paul Pogba to their project. The French club's other high-profile, marquee signings like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have both publicly spoken about their desire to leave the capital club. The lack of PSG's success in the Champions League might also make Paul Pogba not thinking about joining the French capital club.