There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the idea of losing Paul Pogba would have seen Manchester United supporters break out into a cold sweat.
Signed back from Juventus in 2016 for a then world record fee of £89million, the Frenchman was supposed to be the final piece in Jose Mourinho’s jigsaw.
But the two had a fractious relationship, culminating in a very public pitchside row at the end of the Portguese’s tenure at Old Trafford.
On that occasion, the supporters were almost unanimous in their support for Pogba, just months on from being the driving force behind France’s World Cup win.
The arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was hoped to be the catalyst for the midfielder to finally become the player that had established himself as one of Europe’s best in Turin.
However, it has been in fits and starts – in truth, similarly to the rest of Solskjaer’s reign – with the Norwegian now looking at other options in the middle of the park.
There has been debate surrounding where his best position is and what Solskjaer needs to do to get the best out of him. But Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has claimed these discussions only exist because of Pogba’s below-par four-year stay in Manchester.
“We’re still talking about, ‘What is Paul Pogba’s best position?’, when he’s been at the club for four years,” declared Carragher.
“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.”
For much of Solskjaer’s spell, there have been accusations that a ‘better’ manager would get more out of the 27-year-old, another point Carragher rallied against during a recent stint on talkSPORT.
He added: “If someone said to me, I could only play well because of a certain manager, I’d be embarrassed.
“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 for perhaps the first time in his second spell at the club, the consensus of the fanbase are beginning to side against Pogba.
A look on social media shows that his level of support is dwindling, whether that is down to performances, loyalty to Solskjaer, or those ill-advised Real Madrid comments, remains to be seen.
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The arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek – particularly the latter – also mean that Pogba is no longer the main main, the man to build the team around.
Solskjaer’s set-up is now designed to get the most out of Fernandes, a player who has played such a pivotal role since his arrival in January. And while the discussion goes on around whether the two can play together, the Red Devils boss has seemingly made his mind up.
The fact that in a game he had to win, Solskjaer left Pogba on the bench, says a lot.
Carragher has urged United to “cash in” on the one-time world record signing, that idea looks as if it is becoming more palatable to the Old Trafford faithful.
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