EPL

Raiola cools Solskjaer rift as he suggests Pogba open to Man Utd contract extension

By Sports Desk February 18, 2020

Mino Raiola has attempted to cool a rift with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and suggested Paul Pogba is open to talks regarding a contract extension.

Raiola and Solskjaer have traded several barbs over the past week as Pogba's future continues to be a subject of debate and uncertainty.

The France star's representative initially stated Pogba would be open to returning to Juventus due to seeing Italy as a "second home", but Solskjaer took issue with his comments, reminding Raiola the player belongs to United and not him.

Raiola fired back shortly before United's 2-0 win over Chelsea on Monday and insisted Pogba is not Solskjaer's property.

The Red Devils manager responded after the match and suggested he "probably won't" speak to Pogba nor Raiola about the back-and-forth, but the agent – who on Tuesday again insisted Solskjaer took certain words in the original interview out of context – now seems set on cooling the war of words as he hinted at potential contract talks.

"We are open for talks after he gets back [from injury]," Raiola told Sky Sports. "For now, there is a contract and the only thing he is focused on is getting back to fitness.

"When an agent represents any player, of course there will be talks about how to move on or move forward if you are still part of the plans for the manager, there is nothing strange about that.

"I thought my interview was very innocent when I said: 'Maybe one day he will return [to Italy] because it is like a second home.' But I didn't say he would come back next year or the year after. You never know if he will come back or not.

"For this kind of player, there can't be a lot of interest because not a lot of clubs can afford him. There are no talks with any clubs at the moment.

"I will reach out to Ole because nothing serious is going on. Certainly, I did not intend to have any disrespect to the club or towards him.

"Having players at Manchester United, I only want the best for the team and the club. I have nothing against Ole and I don't think he has anything against me.

"I did only think that saying Paul is Manchester United's was not the right reaction. I only wanted to respond to everyone who said that, because you employ a player therefore you own them and can do whatever you want with them.

"Paul has great commitment to the club, there is no question about that. Paul has a contract with Manchester United and wants to get back fit as quick as possible and back into the team to be a positive factor until the end of the season.

"In this moment, there are no talks [over Pogba's future]. He is only committed to Manchester United and he respects his contract. Everybody is worried about Pogba leaving, but I am not worried."

After Solskjaer had reminded Raiola that Pogba was their player and not his, the intermediary said the United manager should be worrying about other things rather than the future of his midfielder.

But Raiola clarified he simply meant Champions League qualification is United's focus and accepted publishing the statement just before a match was ill-timed.

"For the club, getting Champions League is more important," Raiola added. "This again was taken out of context and has been made bigger than it should be.

"I wasn't aware that Manchester United had a game, so it wasn't on purpose that I put that out before the game and maybe it wasn't the best timing.

"My words were taken out of context and it was maybe not the right platform to discuss this."

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