Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he thinks Paul Pogba will still be at Manchester United next season but admits he ‘cannot guarantee’ that.
The 26-year-old France midfielder appeared destined to quit Old Trafford after a series of bust ups with Jose Mourinho which culminated in him being unceremoniously stripped of the vice captaincy.
He is contracted until July 2021 but he is linked with a move to Real Madrid.
The midfielder has scored 24 goals in 83 league appearances for United since rejoining from Juventus in 2016 and was named in the PFA Team of the Year on Thursday.
His formed improved dramatically almost from the instant Mourinho was replaced by Solskjaer in December, but cracks have begun to appear in the pair’s relationship following a disastrous run of seven defeats in the last nine matches.
‘I assure you he wants to be a success at Manchester United,’ said Solskjaer ahead of Sunday’s match against Chelsea. ‘Paul’s done fantastic for us but he’s a human being.
We want him to do well, he’s a leader in the dressing room and on the pitch for us. ‘You can never guarantee, but he will be here as far as I’m concerned.’
“If I could guarantee I would say yes. You can’t guarantee but I think he will be.”
Speaking at a news conference before United’s game against Chelsea on Sunday (8:30 PST), Solskjaer also said he had no intention of dropping goalkeeper David de Gea despite a succession of recent mistakes.
“I trust David. He is best player we have had for the last six or seven years. He will be fine,” Solskjaer said.
Against Manchester City on Wednesday, Bernardo Silva’s low shot went inside De Gea’s near post and the keeper was at fault when Leroy Sane’s drive went straight through him.
Pogba’s recent performances against Barcelona and Everton have been heavily criticised by a number of United legends including Gary Neville and Roy Keane, who essentially branded him a liar ahead of the midweek derby defeat against City at Old Trafford.
Pogba was also reported to have been critical of Solskjaer’s tactics in the defeat to City which left United with no margin for error in their pursuit of a top four place, which could take a terminal blow against Chelsea. ‘The world has changed,’ Solskjaer added. ‘You don’t have a Robbo or a Roy Keane or a Steve Bruce in our dressing room. ‘We’re all different now, society is different. We lead differently. I don’t lead the way Sir Alex did, Van Gaal, Mourinho, we’re all different.’
“I think he will be here next season,” said Solskjaer.
“Paul has done fantastic for us. We want him to do well. He is a leader in the dressing room.
He revealed midfielder Ander Herrera may be available for Sunday’s game after a hamstring injury.