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Manchester United have two short-term Paul Pogba fixes if he leaves this summer

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 22/07/2021 Richard Fay

The early signs are promising for Manchester United fans in the summer transfer window, but the real verdicts will be made when it eventually closes in six weeks' time.

Before the season ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he had an idea in mind regarding how he wanted his side to look by the start of the new season - Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane were no doubt a part of that.

Though just as important as new additions are this summer, so too is the task of retaining the stars already at the club, with Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes among the first-team players who could soon be offered new and improved long-term deals.

The elephant in the room of course is Paul Pogba.

Reports this week have linked him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, though MEN Sport understands no contact has been made between to two clubs.

Pogba is relaxed about his future and prepared to stay for at least another year if a summer transfer does not materialise, particularly because he and wife, Zulay, are settled in Cheshire with their two young sons.

That of course doesn't mean a deal isn't a possibility, with PSG keen to add a star of French football to their squad as they look to not only reclaim the Ligue 1 title but also achieve their ultimate goal of conquering Europe.

It goes without saying United's desire would be to keep the player who lit up the European Championship with world-class performances for France, but with only a year left on his contract the power is very much with Pogba.

Keeping him could well prove crucial to any successful Premier League challenge next season, though plenty of supporters would still rather cash in on this summer rather than lose him for free in a year's time.


Video: PSG interested in signing Pogba (Sky Sports)

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Signing a new central midfielder is already of interest to United if Pogba were to stay, though to lose him could not only accelerate plans to sign another, but also convince them to try and sign two.

Yet much of that could rely on how those already at the club would respond to such an exit, with Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek possible beneficiaries from a Pogba departure.

A planned formation change this summer will see United embrace their attacking flair, moving away from a double axis in midfield in favour of a more expansive 4-3-3 approach.

Paul Pogba wearing a blue shirt © Franck Fife/Pool/AFP via Getty Images Paul Pogba

Doing so will reduce the need for two defensive minded roles and allow another player to occupy a more attack-minded role. Such a switch would suit Pogba ideally, though in his absence it could be McTominay or Van de Beek who excel.

Solskjaer has already indicated he would like to use McTominay in a more attacking role after an encouraging season which saw him net seven times across all competitions and the new role would do just that.

Likewise it could be a position in which Dutch midfielder Van de Beek shines as he looks to put a difficult debut season behind him and cement a regular starting role during the next campaign.

The former Ajax midfielder hasn't had the benefit of a permanent role in the United line up but could get one next season as part of a new-look midfield alongside Fernandes and a defensive midfielder.

Either this summer or next United will need to sign a new midfield option irrespective of what Pogba decides to do, though they certainly have the bodies to get by for a season if he were to leave in the next six weeks.

McTominay and Van de Beek might not be able to match the individual quality of the World Cup winner, but the greater balance they bring could in turn make it even better.

They are both deserving of a chance no matter what happens before deadline day.

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