It wasn’t meant to be this way if you are a fan of Manchester United. Last summer all appeared to be rosy in the garden as the great Cristiano Ronaldo arrived on deadline day, and betting apps had them fourth favourites to win the Premier League.
Ronaldo was supposed to be the missing piece - a focal point in attack - to a jampacked United squad that had already had the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raphaël Varane added to it for big fees in the summer window.
It all started so well with a 5-1 trouncing of Leeds United on the opening day, but it has gone downhill from there. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was shown the door in November, Ralf Rangnick hasn’t worked out as interim boss and the club will go yet another season without silverware to show for their efforts.
The last word in the previous sentence is important as it is the collective ‘efforts’ of the playing squad that has United supporters up in arms, as it looks like the club is set to miss out on Champions League football this season.
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United May Need To Cut Their Losses On Paul Pogba
Yet another injury hit season has blighted Paul Pogba’s unhappy time back in a red shirt. The Frenchman returned to Man United in August 2016 and since then his time at the club has been dogged by questions over his contribution, along with his commitment to the cause.
Pogba looks to be on has way out of Old Trafford in the summer as his contract is coming to an end and it’s rumoured that he has met with the hierarchy at Paris Saint-Germain, with a view to returning to his home country next season.
It may not be a bad thing for United to lose such a divisive figure to the fanbase, and the club could probably add the likes of Juan Mata, Nemanja Matić, Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones to that exit list.
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One man who believes Pogba’s time at Old Trafford is up, is his fellow World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit.
“Paul Pogba should not stay at Manchester United beyond this summer. It is time for him to leave the club,” Petit told bookmakers.co.uk.
“His body language tells you the story that he is not happy there at all. He is not the only one by the way, there is so many frustrated players at the club.
“I watched the game they had with Everton. Come on! This is supposed to be Manchester United. You have such responsibility when you play for a great team, and they are not the club I used to play against.
“I believe Pogba should leave the club this summer because his time has run out over there. It's time for him to find a new motivation, something different because the current environment at Manchester United is not good at all for the players.
“If you asked this question to the entire dressing room, I'm sure that half of them would actually want to leave.”
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Where Next For Pogba?
PSG are now 4/1 favourites with Betfair to claim Pogba’s signature this summer, with Juventus and Real Madrid next on the hitlist to sign the midfielder.
When asked if any of those clubs would be a good destination for Pogba, Petit felt his countryman needed to bring his form from the French national team to his club before he could be considered by some of the top teams in the world.
“There is a Paul Pogba that plays for the French national team and a Paul Pogba that plays for Manchester United who is totally different,” said Petit.
“Every time Paul comes to play for France it is like oxygen for him because the atmosphere is better, and he hasn't the same teammates. But, when he goes back to his club it's like everything is cloudy and raining all day.
“There are no positive vibes, they are struggling on and off the pitch. It's two different worlds.
“If you ask me if he can go to Real Madrid or PSG? I would ask him to first of all find his motivation and get back into the routine of playing for his club. It's very different to what you can do with the national team.”
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Martial May Also Be Headed For The Exit Door
Anthony Martial is another player who Man United may need to wave goodbye to after he returns from his loan spell in Spain.
The striker has only played seven times in La Liga since his late January move on loan to Sevilla and has scored just a single goal for the club after his arrival.
He is another player Petit believes needs to get out of Manchester as soon as possible.
“Anthony Martial definitely does not have a future at Manchester United,” said the Premier League legend.
“He has spent so many years there where he has not improved. I believe he has lost his confidence with Man United, and he has also lost his desire a bit. It seems to have happened to a lot of the Man United dressing room. They all look so damn unhappy, they don't look like a team with unity. There is no love for each other and there is no communication as well.
“You don't need to be in the dressing room to see that. As a former player there are things I can see on the pitch, and it is obvious to me.”
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Martial has been in the headlines for issues off the field lately, but it is his demeanour on it that has Petit very worried for the French international.
“Martial is also having some trouble in his private life, so I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to go back to Manchester United.
“He has been there for six years now and there was so much hope for him when he signed, but he has just struggled at the club.
“It doesn't matter who was in the dugout as a manager, at Martial's age he should have played more games than he has done. But, he hasn't and every time I see him he's never smiling and he always looks unhappy.”