Pogba expected to feature in game against Chelsea

LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expecting to name Paul Pogba in the Manchester United line-up for their Premier League opener against Chelsea next Sunday, despite the Frenchman's overtures to leave the club in the close season.

Pogba said in June that he could seek a new challenge after three years at United, while his agent told The Times of London last month that the 26-year-old intends to leave amid reports linking him to Juventus and Real Madrid.

However, with a transfer having not materialised, the midfielder, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-world record fee of £89.3 million (S$150 million) could be around Old Trafford for a little while longer.

"Paul will probably be back early next week in training. It's not an injury, just some pain. He's not injured but I wasn't going to risk anything this weekend," Solskjaer told a news conference after his side's penalty shoot-out win over AC Milan in Cardiff on Saturday.

"He should be okay (for Chelsea). I would hope so, anyway. I wasn't expecting Paul (at the airport). I spoke to him after training and he didn't feel right."

Pogba has endured a turbulent time at United, notably falling out with Solskjaer's predecessor Jose Mourinho. But he may be convinced by the ambition shown by the club to improve on a disappointing sixth-placed league finish.

After the acquisitions of full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and young winger Daniel James from Swansea to add thrust to the flanks, United are close to sealing a record £80 million deal for Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire.

"Hopefully, the last little details will be in place and we can announce something very soon," the Norwegian coach said of the England centre-back.

"Let's get the details over the line but he's played a few games over the summer so we'll just have to assess him, if and when (he is available for the Chelsea match)."

Solskjaer also said that Ashley Young would be the new club captain, taking over from Antonio Valencia, who left after 10 years in Manchester to join LDU Quito in his native Ecuador last month.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2019, with the headline 'Pogba expected to feature in game against Chelsea'. Print Edition | Subscribe