Football

Ole hopes United's progress will convince Pogba and Cavani to stay

Both players have been linked with moves away from Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes French midfielder Paul Pogba and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani will be swayed to stay at Old Trafford, following the Red Devils' continued on-field improvements this season.

The contract of World Cup winner Pogba, who joined United from Juventus for £89.3 million pounds (S$164.2m) in 2016, is set to run out next year.

“He knows my feelings about him and that I want him to stay,” Solskjaer, whose side are second in the English Premier League and in a good position to reach the Europa League final, told reporters.

“It’s about creating an environment that we thrive in... and a team that challenges for trophies.”

Cavani arrived at United on a one-year contract last October with an option of another 12 months, but remains undecided about his future after a difficult season which included a social media faux pas that resulted in a three-game ban.

The 34-year-old has been linked with a return to South America, with ex-United defender Marcos Rojo saying the Uruguayan is “interested” in joining him at Boca Juniors.

He told ESPN Argentina last month (April): “I talk a lot with Cavani. We were together for about four or five months in Manchester but he’s a great person and we have a good relationship...

“It’s important that great players, the size of Cavani, who is a historical player from Uruguay and who played in very great teams, say they want to come and play at Boca. I think he speaks very well of the club and Argentinian football. 

“When I told him that there was the possibility of coming to Boca, he told me that he had also spoken with (Boca’s second vice-president Juan) Roman (Riquelme) and that he liked the option very much, that he would be interested in the future. He has to make that decision with his family.”

However, Solskjaer said: “He (Pogba) and Edinson are winners but they’re also human and it’s important that they enjoy coming in and enjoy playing for this team.

“If... they can feel our progress, our chances are probably bigger to keep them.”

Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said last December that the player was unhappy and needed to change teams to reignite his career.

This week, Raiola told Spanish daily AS: “With Pogba, what’s really important too is what Manchester United want, what project they are proposing for Pogba.

“Pogba has always been interested in one thing, winning the Champions League, titles, that’s his objective. And we’ll see if that’s possible at United or at other big European clubs.

“At one time, Pogba felt a lot of love for, and trust in, United, and there are various other clubs.”
Raiola also highlighted that playing for Pogba’s “childhood hero” Zinedine Zidane was a favourable “option” for the 28-year-old.

He said: “It’s really hard for United and Madrid to reach an understanding on a massive transfer, because big clubs don’t like selling great players to other big clubs.

“And I’m not going to kid you, for Pogba, playing at Madrid was always a really attractive option, because of Zidane too. He’s Pogba’s childhood hero.”

But Solskjaer said his relationship with Pogba, who he also coached at youth level, had helped the Frenchman rediscover his best form.

“He wants to be better, he has listened, and we can see that he’s enjoying himself here as well,” Solskjaer said.

“I had him when he was a kid as well and I’ve always said I enjoy managing Paul; I enjoy coaching him, talking to him and challenging him because he’s a winner.” – REUTERS

paul pogbaedinson cavaniOle Gunnar SolskjaerManchester United