According to The Sun, there was one promise that caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made to Paul Pogba after his appointment in December and it will surely have Jose Mourinho seething.
Well, a Red Devils source close to Solskjaer has said:
“Paul has been given so much encouragement from Ole and is working harder… The new manager seriously believes Paul is the best midfielder in Premier League… He has given Paul the licence to do whatever he likes. The team operates around Paul now.”
It’s clear that the former striker’s pledge to make the World Cup winner the star man has gone a long way – Pogba has chalked up four goals and four assists in five games under Solskjaer.
The transformation the former has made since Mourinho’s departure is remarkable, but the Portuguese will be scratching his head as to why he didn’t see the same output after spending hundreds-of-millions on finding the perfect midfield combination to allow the 25-year-old to flourish.
The signings of Fred and Nemanja Matic were expected to get the best out of Pogba as the former is an energetic, box-to-box midfielder who can help the United number 6 out on the front foot while saving him running back, and the latter was intended to be the base of midfield that would entirely relieve Pogba of defensive duties – something he has a clear dislike for.
Just over £90m was spent on those two and, while neither have impressed too greatly in all fairness, there was no improvement on Pogba’s part under Mourinho and the two’s turbulent relationship continued until the former Chelsea boss was given the boot.
Since, smiley Solskjaer has come in and shown that putting an arm around the one-of-a-kind midfielder is the way to get him playing, not by splashing enormous amounts of cash to improve the quality of those around him.
If, as The Sun seems to believe, Pogba just needed to be told he’s the man, then it’s no wonder it never clicked under Mou – the Portuguese has an ego to match the former Juve man’s but, if he’d been able to put that aside and tell Pogba how good he is the whole saga may have been avoided.
The 55-year-old wouldn’t dare damage his pride, though, and instead thought the Frenchman’s loyalty could be bought by getting him the players that, on paper, would maximise his creative potential.
In reality, none of that mattered to Pogba – he is now tearing it up under new management and Mourinho must be fuming that, in a matter of weeks, Solskjaer is successfully doing exactly what he fruitlessly dedicated his entire tenure at Old Trafford to trying to do.