Several of Man Utd’s stars felt the timing of the comments from Paul Pogba’s agent just hours before the crucial clash with RB Leipzig were ‘disrespectful’ towards them, reports suggest.
United were busy readying themselves to travel to Germany for their crunch Group H tie when Tuttosport dropped the bombshell from Mino Raiola that Pogba was unhappy at the club.
The midfielder’s representative added that Pogba was in need of a change of scenery and a transfer in January would be best for all parties.
According to The Athletic , a number of players in the United camp were unimpressed by the lack of regard for their preparations, though others were more sympathetic.
Members of the first team immediately reacted to the news by seeking answers from Pogba, but remained aware of Raiola’s character and tendency to speak out of turn.
It is still not clear whether Pogba knew his agent was going to make such a public declaration of his intentions to move on.
Raiola conducted the interview with Tuttosport prior to United’s victory over West Ham, during which Pogba scored.
That effectively put the date of publication in the hands of the Italian media outlet, but there are suggestions Raiola had a more hands-on role in when the interview went out.
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It is probably no coincidence that Raiola chose to speak to the Turin-based publication in the first place, given Pogba’s continued links with a return to Juventus.
In general, United’s stars were able to ignore the revelations to focus on the business at hand, though it was less than ideal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was said to be seething at Raiola’s outburst on the eve of United’s biggest game of the season.
Pogba started on the bench for the encounter, though that was a decision his manager had already made prior to learning of Raiola’s comments.
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Solskjaer even broached the subject with Pogba before the showdown in Leipzig, but kept his anger to a minimum as he wanted his player on-side in case he would need him later on – which it turned out he did, though perhaps against his better instincts.
United are now looking to draw a line under the issue before Pogba disrupts their plans any further, with Solskjaer happy to sanction his sale.
As The Athletic’s report adds, the 27-year-old almost left United in the summer until a prospective buyer reneged on a proposed deal.
Juventus are now the front runners for Pogba’s signature, while Real Madrid and PSG are both also in the frame.