Football

Mino Raiola: It’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United

Agent says French midfielder is heading for Old Trafford exit in latest instalment of saga

Manchester United's preparations for their crunch Champions League clash at RB Leipzig tomorrow morning (Singapore time) have been disrupted by super agent Mino Raiola declaring that his client Paul Pogba's tenure at Old Trafford is "over".

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, GROUP H
RB LEIPZIG MAN UNITED

In an interview with Italian newspaper Tuttosport to be published today, Raiola said: "I can say that it's over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United.

"Paul is unhappy with Man United as he is no longer able to express himself in the way that he would like and as he is expected to. Paul needs a new team, a change of air...

"I think that the best solution for both Pogba and Man United is that he goes in the next transfer window. If not, the Old Trafford club know that they risk losing him on a free transfer as it is not Paul's intention to extend his contract."

This is just the latest instalment of the saga, with Raiola hitting out at United in the past, suggesting that his client would be better suited elsewhere.

Pogba himself said last year that he was keen on a "new challenge". The 27-year-old played just 13 times last season in an injury-disrupted campaign. He has been largely disappointing this season, scoring just once.

Raiola's bombshell comes after it was revealed that United will be without forwards Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial at Leipzig.

After losing 3-1 at home to Paris Saint-Germain last week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side head into their final Group H game level on nine points with the French champions and their German opponents.

United will qualify for the last 16 if they avoid defeat at Leipzig, where the Red Devils will be without attackers Cavani and Martial after they sustained knocks in last Sunday morning's 3-1 comeback win at West Ham United.

"David (de Gea) is travelling, Luke (Shaw) is travelling," said Solskjaer, who is without Fred through suspension.

"Edinson and Anthony, they've only minor niggles but they won't be making the trip."

United looked certain to ease through the group phase after an impressive win at PSG, followed by a 5-0 hammering of Leipzig at home.

But a shock away defeat by Istanbul Basaksehir threw the group wide open. There is huge pressure on United heading into tomorrow morning's match but Solskjaer is confident the players will rise to the occasion.

"Knockout games or games like this that mean you can go through or not are big," he said.

"The players are here, they are Man United players because they have qualities that we've looked for and I'm sure that tomorrow night will prove that's the reason why they're here. They will show it."

United, who last won the Champions League in 2008, can take heart from their striking away form this season, with the exception of their ill-fated trip to Turkey.

The shock loss in Istanbul is the only away game the three-time European champions have failed to win this season.

However, Leipzig's players are confident they can put United to the sword, despite missing star centre-back Dayot Upamecano through suspension. "We are up for it. I am convinced that when we have a great match plan again - we can beat United," said captain Marcel Sabitzer.

Having scored a brilliant header in a 3-3 draw with European champions Bayern Munich last Sunday morning, playmaker Emil Forsberg noted Leipzig are "in a good mood and hungry".

Their coach Julian Nagelsmann added: "United were first in the group for a long time, now they can be eliminated with one game. We have fought our way back and can still make it through on our own terms." - AFP

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