Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick is certain Paul Pogba is “highly motivated” to perform for the club, even if it is to secure a contract elsewhere.
The France international’s contract is up at the end of the season and the Premier League club are at risk of losing the midfielder for free for the second time in his career, having brought him back to Old Trafford for a then world record fee in 2016. There are reports that he has been offered a new deal, with several newspapers claiming new terms would be worth £500,000 per week.
Pogba is back in training following a thigh injury he suffered in November and although upcoming Premier League matches may come too soon, it is possible he will return to the team for their FA Cup fourth round tie with Middlesbrough.
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Despite doubts around his future, Rangnick says he will have no problem bringing Pogba back into the team when he is ready.
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“By the way, my contract as a manager is also expiring in the summer. So, for us, we have the same goal, we have the same ambition to be as successful as we can possibly be in the next three or four months,” said the German.
"For me, it's not a question if a player has an expiring contract. The question is how much does he still want to be a part of this group? How much does he still feel emotionally and physically on board?
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"And as long as this is the case, why shouldn't Paul Pogba now after two and half months of injury, being fully fit again now and he also wants to show up?
He wants to show the fans of Manchester United, the board, the whole world what kind of player he can be, and even if it's for only showing up for a new contract elsewhere, I mean, he will be highly motivated to do that. Why should I then not play him?
"But then, as I said, there is a difference of how do players deal with their current situation? How do they handle that?
"If they handle that in a professional way, in an ambitious way, of course I can and I will play players although they have a contract expiring in the summer."
If Pogba does choose to leave Manchester for the second time, there will not be a shortage of suitors, with a return to Juventus a possibility and both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain also understood to be monitoring the situation.
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