Pogba 'not anywhere near ready' to return to Man Utd team training, says Solskjaer

By Sports Desk February 19, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Paul Pogba is "not anywhere near ready" to return to team training with Manchester United as speculation over his long-term future intensifies.

The France World Cup winner has not featured for the Red Devils since the 4-1 Boxing Day win over Newcastle United as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

Solskjaer had suggested after Monday's 2-0 win over Chelsea that Pogba was due to resume training this week but changed his stance when previewing Thursday's Europa League clash with Club Brugge.

"Paul has not been part of the team training yet," boss Solskjaer said.

"So, it'll depend on how he feels or when he feels ready to do that, so he's not anywhere near that yet."

The latest update from Solskjaer will do little to assuage reports Pogba is heading for an Old Trafford exit at the end of the season, with a return to former club Juventus having been heavily mooted in recent weeks.

This week, Solskjaer has been involved in a back-and-forth with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola, who published a statement on Twitter prior to the Chelsea game that read: "Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer's property, Paul is Paul Pogba's. You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I HOPE Solskjaer DO NOT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT PAUL IS HIS PRISONER."

Solskjaer later said he would not be drawn into a war of words and Raiola attempted to cool the feud, even going as far as to suggest Pogba could be open to the idea of a new contract.

Related items

  • Man City sign Bournemouth defender Ake Man City sign Bournemouth defender Ake

    Manchester City have completed the signing of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for a reported fee of £41million.

    Pep Guardiola has been searching for another option at centre-back since Vincent Kompany's departure in May 2019.

    Aymeric Laporte endured injury issues in the 2019-20 campaign, though the Frenchman was a regular following the restart of the Premier League season in June, while doubts remain over the futures of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

    Youngster Eric Garcia put in some impressive displays, but City – who have also been linked with Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly – have now moved to bolster their defensive ranks by bringing in Ake.

    The Netherlands international, who Bournemouth signed permanently from Chelsea for £20m in 2017, has signed a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

    "City have been the best side in England over the course of the last decade," Ake told his new club's website.

    "Coming here is a dream for me. This is a top side full of world-class players. Everywhere you look in this squad there are big names with international pedigree.

    "Pep is a manager admired across the world - what he's done in the game speaks for itself. The success he's had is unbelievable and the style of football he plays really appeals to me.

    "I know I'm going to have to work hard to get into the side, but that's what I'm here to do. I'll do whatever I can to make an impact and help the team win silverware."

    After featuring in every Premier League match for the Cherries in 2017-18 and 2018-19, injuries restricted Ake to 29 league appearances as Eddie Howe's side dropped out of the top flight.

    The 25-year-old becomes City's second signing since the conclusion of the Premier League season, quickly following on from Tuesday's announcement of Ferran Torres' arrival from Valencia.

    A Spain Under-21 international who scored four goals and provided five assists in 34 LaLiga appearances, Torres is also on a deal that runs through until 2025.

  • BREAKING NEWS: Inter chief Marotta confirms Sanchez deal BREAKING NEWS: Inter chief Marotta confirms Sanchez deal

    Alexis Sanchez will officially become an Inter player on a permanent basis on Thursday, according to the club's chief executive Giuseppe Marotta.

  • Toure: Intelligent Ake can shine at Man City Toure: Intelligent Ake can shine at Man City

    Nathan Ake has the intelligence to succeed at Manchester City despite his diminutive stature, according to Kolo Toure.

    City have sealed a £41million deal to bolster their defensive options by bringing in Netherlands international Ake from relegated Bournemouth.

    The 25-year-old stands at 5ft 11ins, meaning he is not an obviously dominant presence in the air for an already diminutive City side.

    But Toure, who won Premier League titles as a centre-back at City and Arsenal despite himself being under six feet, believes Ake has shown himself to have the skillset to negotiate this disadvantage.

    "You have to be really intelligent. You have to anticipate things quicker," he told Stats Perform News when discussing the demands placed upon shorter central defenders.

    "When you want to jump, you have to make sure that you read the ball very well and attack at the right time.

    "He's got that. You can see he's a very intelligent player, because the difficulty in the Premier League is the long balls. But if you time your jump well, you can win the ball.

    "As well, what is crucial is players around you. They have to make sure that the players around you think that you might lose an aerial battle. It won't be a problem for him."

    One of the players around Ake will be City's leading centre-back Aymeric Laporte.

    Ake's initial role in Pep Guardiola's squad is expected to be as an understudy to the ball-playing Frenchman, with moves for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly or Sevilla's Diego Carlos also mooted in a defensive overhaul.

    The prospect of Ake and Laporte playing alongside each other in a defensive pairing is an unusual one, given both are left-footed, but Toure does not see why it cannot work.

    "It's very unusual to have two left-foot players. But why not if you have two with right feet?" he added. "As long as they are intelligent and can use their right foot as well.

    "I can understand the point - when you don't see something often you always doubt it a little bit. But the boy is a good player."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.