Paul Pogba has told Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho that he wants to leave the club, in the latest twist to an extraordinary crisis at Old Trafford.
The French World Cup winner was stripped of the club’s vice captaincy on Tuesday, and a fresh report on Tuesday night from Mail Online claims that Mourinho made the decision following Pogba’s admission. Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for the player, while both Paris Saint-Germain and former club Juventus are interested too.
Pogba will not be able to leave the club until January at the earliest – so it looks as though this crisis will fester for a few months yet – and a desire to join another club as well as a breakdown in the relationship between player and manager are reported to be key factors in Pogba’s decision.
The midfielder was seen in the stands at Old Trafford on Tuesday night as 10-man United crashed out of the Capital One Cup on penalties to Derby County, and Mourinho confirmed following the game that Pogba had in fact been removed as a captain.
While he insisted there was no issue between himself and the player, the Mail’s report details that Mourinho is no longer prepared to allow someone who wishes to leave to skipper the team.
United have been concerned with Pogba’s behaviour for some time – with an example from the report claiming he was “playing loud music” on the team bus before United’s 1-1 draw with Wolves on Saturday. The club’s coaching staff had felt a quieter concentration on the game was the right way to go about things.
Pogba and Mourinho have also used the press to indirectly, and directly in some cases, attack each other. The latest chapter between the two was written following the Wolves game, as Pogba insisted United should be attacking more and that it wasn’t his fault that they weren’t. This, in turn, was said to have angered Mourinho.
Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, has himself been working on Pogba’s exit from the club for months, negotiating personal terms with Barcelona in the later weeks of the summer transfer window.