Neil Humphreys: Why Pogba should leave Man United
French rebel will never follow Mourinho's mantra
The handshake suggested that Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho's relationship might never work out.
It was caught on camera, after that enthralling Manchester United-Liverpool game, which the Frenchman missed through injury.
Pogba grabbed Mourinho's hand and practically yanked his boss' arm out of its socket, a silly alpha-male routine, a literal power grab played out for armchair viewers.
Mourinho stumbled forward and smiled sheepishly, as if he was in on the act. But he looked flustered.
English football has always loved the pantomime of post-match handshakes, but Pogba's effort hinted at a deeper fault line in a fractured relationship.
The moment captured two polar opposites. Mourinho the conformist embarrassed by a French renegade he can't control. Pogba will never fit into one of his manager's pigeonholes.
If the reported stories are accurate and United are prepared to sell their record signing in the summer, then it's time to cash in.
Pogba's independent eagerness to roam where he pleases doesn't appeal to a manager who prefers devoted water carriers like Scott McTominay.
But the handshake also hinted at a lack of respect. Intentional or otherwise, Pogba's playfulness undermined Mourinho.
Whatever the circumstances, a United player never grabbed Sir Alex Ferguson's arm and yanked him forward in front of cameras. Ever.
In 2001, Ferguson sat beside Roy Keane in a post-friendly interview in Malaysia. Keane made a benign joke at his manager's expense. Ferguson retaliated by slapping his skipper across the head.
The exchange was playful and not caught on camera, but the dynamics were clear. There was only one leader at Old Trafford.
Keane, the most volatile United footballer in the last 30 years, still knew his place.
Or he gives the impression that he doesn't and that's more than enough for Mourinho.
Gary Neville recently argued that Pogba's behaviour serves his social media accounts more than his United performances. There are also reports of teammates tiring of his Instagram antics.
Pogba supposedly defines the self-absorbed millennial, a multi-millionaire more interested in his hair stylist than his manager.
But the overindulged, preening caricature seems only a partial explanation for the midfielder's struggles.
In terms of megalomania, he's still a novice compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But the Swede's arrogance never impeded his performances at United, or risked his relationship with his manager.
Pogba's problems might have a more prosaic explanation. He's not a Mourinho footballer. The panic-stricken transfer hasn't worked.
Last season's five-goal return in 30 EPL appearances has dropped to three in 19 matches this time around. His assists have improved - nine to four - but his tackles are way down.
In the EPL, Pogba made 53 tackles last season. Right now, he stands on 23.
Physically, the 25-year-old is approaching his peak. Statistically, he's been in decline.
His poor form for the club is also threatening to affect his international career. In the 3-2 friendly defeat by Colombia last Friday, he started on the bench and came on in the 65th minute to little impact.
If anything, he's a product of a shambolic transfer policy as United throw money at brands names in the hope that one or two might stick.
After 18 months, his manager still isn't entirely sure where or how his £89-million signing should be used, evoking memories of Juan Sebastian Veron's brief stint at United.
When the Argentinian signed in 2001, his £24.3 million fee was an English transfer record. He also played as if the price tag was a ball and chain.
Like Mourinho, Ferguson eventually tired of his erratic midfielder, but his public response was entirely different.
In one memorable encounter, Ferguson informed journalists that they were all idiots, using his favourite expletives to underscore his contempt. He reminded everyone of Veron's greatness and walked out.
Ferguson loved a sweary outburst to prop up the façade. Players were always protected.
But Mourinho savages his disappointing stars. Pogba and Luke Shaw have been a tag team of abuse victims, taking turns to be whacked by their boss' baton.
It's another Mourinho sideshow to distract from the failure of key signings, his refusal to play nice and attack and his ongoing inability to get the best from Pogba.
The Frenchman doesn't fit his manager's template. More importantly, he doesn't fear his manager. The balance of power between the men is all wrong for an autocrat like Mourinho.
There's talk of using Pogba as bait to lure in the likes of Toni Kroos or Marco Verratti in a swop deal, but the names are less important than the growing reality at United.
Pogba's position looks untenable as long as Mourinho remains at the club.