Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at Mino Raiola following his comments on Paul Pogba’s future, as Juventus admit their ‘love’ for the Manchester United midfielder.
Pogba’s future has once again been in the headlines following yet more ill-advised and ill-timed comments from controversial agent Raiola, who declared the midfielder’s career with the Red Devils was ‘over’ this week in an interview with Italian publication Tuttosport.
The declaration came on the eve of the club’s crucial Champions League clash against RB Leipzig, a fixture that saw Solskjaer’s side crash out of the competition following a 3-2 defeat in Germany.
Solskjaer has dismissed the suggestion that the comments had impacted the rest of the squad, though hit out at Raiola following his latest outburst and says the agent must realise football is a team sport and not about individuals.
“The squad is fine,” Solskjaer told his post match press conference “They’re a team and they stick together.
“As soon as Paul’s agent realises this is a team sport and we work together, the better.
“That’s probably maybe the last thing I’ll say about that. I don’t want to spend energy on that.”
Asked if he had spoken to Pogba about this agent’s comments, Solskjaer said: “You know, what we speak about in the background is something else. As I said, I’m not going to talk about Paul’s agent anymore.”
Pogba was named amongst the substitutes for the clash with Leipzig before being introduced in the second half, with the midfielder producing a decent display as United fell short despite a late fightback.
Solskjaer was asked about the absence of the France international prior to the clash at the Red Bull Arena, though insisted his decision to leave Pogba out of the starting XI was ‘tactical’.
“My decision was tactical, that was the only thing,” Solskjaer said. “We made a team decision way before this game because we decided on Scott [McTominay] and Nemanja [Matic] in the midfield before we played West Ham. I am always thinking about the best XI and it is a team selection.”
Raiola’s comments have raised speculation over an impending exit for Pogba from Old Trafford, with the 27-year-old having been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus in recent months.
Pogba spent four successful seasons with the latter and a return to the Italian champions could be an option, with Juventus director Fabio Paratici admitting the club’s ‘love’ for their former player.
“That is not the right question, I think it’d be rather costly,” he told Sport Mediaset. “We love him very much, we know he is a great player, but right now he is at Manchester United.”