Despite captaining Manchester United to a 2-1 victory in their opening Premier League fixture against Leicester on Friday night, Paul Pogba’s strained relationship with his manager Jose Mourinho continues to dominate the headlines.
Manchester United brought Pogba back to Old Trafford from Italian side Juventus for a then world record fee of £89 million in 2016, but the France international has failed to show his best form on a consistent basis over the last couple of seasons.
The 25-year-old midfielder’s relationship with Mourinho began to suffer last season, with the Portuguese coach dropping Pogba for a lack of tactical discipline.
Pogba was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona recently, with speculation suggesting he wanted out of Old Trafford due to the breakdown of his relationship with his manager.
Although he was handed the captaincy in United’s first game of the season, Pogba’s comments afterwards suggested that all is still not well behind the scenes at Old Trafford.
Leading journalist Sam Wallace has suggested that these comments were a power play from Pogba, who reportedly has the backing of the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
“This troika of figures at United, the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who is unquestionably the most powerful man at the club – there is literally no manager who can challenge him in terms of a relationship with the Glazers – the manager Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba, their highest-profile player; the weakest of the three is Mourinho,” Wallace said on Sky Sports Sunday Supplement.
“There was no question that United would let Pogba go to Barcelona, I’m not sure they could afford him anyway. They tried to throw some pretty mediocre players in.
“I am surprised by what Pogba has said, because it’s pretty bold, I think it shows his confidence. He’s been told he’s a crucial part of the club’s on-field and commercial success, and he’s going very close to saying what he wants.
“I don’t think there’s any question that a player would say that under Fergie because you’d have been finished.
“The days of when Real Madrid and Barcelona could just buy players out of the Premier League are over for the time being, so this was all in the nuance, and Jose will understand it. Mourinho understands power, and this is a player demonstrating the power that he has.”