This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on ESPN FC, Ian Darke has urged Ed Woodward to “bite the bullet” and sell Paul Pogba this summer amid speculation the Frenchman could be on his way out of Manchester United.
The France World Cup winner has been the subject of intense transfer rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid, after revealing that he wanted a “new challenge” for next season.
Now, Darke has questioned what Pogba’s actual worth to the side is when on the pitch and suggested that United would be better off using the money they could get for the midfielder and reinvesting it elsewhere.
He said: “Here’s a player who said he wants a new challenge, and his agent Mino Raiola said the same thing. It looks like they’ve been hankering for that move to Real Madrid. Now you’ve got the Manchester United manager saying that everything is hunky dory, he’s spoken to him and he wants to stay.
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“He didn’t really come off, he was high maintenance, you couldn’t really build a team around him. If I were Ed Woodward, I would bite the bullet and take the money, sell him and use that money to rebuild that team.”
There is little to disagree with Darke’s statement that Pogba is “high maintenance”. The Frenchman’s self-professed flamboyant personality and off-the-pitch presence certainly take the eye away from his footballing abilities, and the entire circus surrounding his current transfer situation is testament to that too.
As the transfer deadline approaches, the time United would have to attempt to find a replacement for Pogba is dwindling by the second. For all the question marks surrounding him, if United could not find someone else to sign, Pogba would undoubtedly still be a prominent part of the side’s starting eleven.
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What is perhaps adding to the drama too is Pogba’s impressive performances in pre-season. The 26-year-old has looked at his creative best and is showing no signs of letting the transfer speculation affect his displays. If United end up with the midfielder still at the club by the end of the window, then this pre-season form and attitude suggests he could put the saga to one side and concentrate on his football again.