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Paul Pogba’s recent Man United displays have been chaotic so is this the end of him at Old Trafford?

Most players try to play for a new contract in their final year of their deal. Paul Pogba’s recent displays for Manchester United hint that he is trying to do the exact opposite. 

The last 85 minutes of the Frenchman’s Red Devils career have been chaotic, in the most negative sense of the word. Tasked with inspiring a Red Devils revival from 4-0 down at home to Liverpool last month, Pogba was sent off for a rash challenge on Naby Keita just 15 minutes into his cameo. 

The 28-year-old looked on as a rejuvenated Red Devils won 3-0 away at Tottenham, but when handed a chance to prove his worth in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 3-5-2 formation at Atalanta on Tuesday, the midfielder failed to make the grade yet again. 

Paul Pogba’s Manchester United displays have dipped as his contract drifts towards expiry

The Frenchman (left) was sent off in United's 5-0 loss to Liverpool then flopped at Atalanta

The Frenchman (left) was sent off in United’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool then flopped at Atalanta

Hauled off after 69 minutes in Bergamo for Nemanja Matic with the Red Devils trailing 2-1 in their Champions League group game is not exactly making amends for his embarrassing red card against Liverpool in his last game.

Paul Scholes questioned whether Pogba, who was caught out of possession for Liverpool’s fifth goal in a 5-0 Old Trafford humiliation, would ever play for the club again after his red card. 

And a closer look at Pogba’s statistics from his return against Atalanta shows that United were better off not having the Frenchman on the pitch at all. 

The midfielder have the ball away ten times in the first-half of Tuesday night’s game, more than any other Manchester United player. 

Pogba (middle) gave the ball away ten times in the first-half in United's Bergamo group clash

Pogba (middle) gave the ball away ten times in the first-half in United’s Bergamo group clash

His Bergamo woes were summed up when he was hounded by Atalanta’s players deep in the United half with his side already 1-0 down, and his failure to keep possession nearly led to Duvan Zapata putting the Italians side two goals up. 

After he was withdrawn by Solskjaer for another poor display, Scholes returned with more criticism for the Frenchman after hinting whether he should ever play again this season.

Scholes said: ‘Pogba needs somebody on him all the time. Somebody there that he totally respects, he needs experienced people behind him.

‘How old he? 28? He’s a really experienced player. But he’s one of them that will get to 35 and be exactly the same.

Paul Scholes has slammed 'stupid' Pogba in recent weeks, claiming he should not play again

Paul Scholes has slammed ‘stupid’ Pogba in recent weeks, claiming he should not play again

‘He’ll still be doing the stupid stuff where he’s stud rolling the ball, holding people off showing how strong and skillful he is. 

‘The biggest thing with Paul is his concentration. He goes away with the fairies at times. You think of the Juventus team he played in, where he was brilliant and was why we signed him.

‘The experience around him – [Andrea] Pirlo, [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Leonardo] Bonucci, [Gianluigi] Buffon, an aggressive manager. He will need that treatment until he’s 35.’     

Scholes has reason to question Pogba’s attitude, given that just two months ago he was being lauded as one of the Premier League’s top creative central midfielders.

Pogba (right) started the season with seven assists in four games but has none in his last nine

Pogba (right) started the season with seven assists in four games but has none in his last nine

Pogba registered seven assists in his first four top-flight matches this season, including four on the opening day at home to Leeds, but has not managed a single goal contribution since the first Premier League weekend in September.

His Champions League record is no better, without a goal or an assist in United’s four group stage matches so far, but Pogba has been used in a more defensive-minded role in a midfield pivot pairing. 

There will come a point, with Pogba’s contract running down towards expiry at the end of June, whether Solskjaer can fit the Frenchman into his side – no matter what formation they play.

Should Pogba continue to struggle in the more-defensive midfield role, then he will find it incredibly difficult to usurp the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani in the attacking areas. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) will have to decide if Pogba (middle) fits in at Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) will have to decide if Pogba (middle) fits in at Manchester United 

According to his agent Mino Raiola, United have little urgency in trying to progress talks over a new contract for the midfielder. 

When pressed on Pogba’s future, super-agent Raiola told The Times last month: ‘You would have to ask Manchester United about it. At this moment everything is calm. There is no update.’

Pogba has been linked to some of the biggest clubs in Europe for the past few years – and the Frenchman has not helped himself with his previous comments over his future.

The Frenchman sparked speculation about a return to former club Juventus by saying he ‘always’ speaks to his ex-Old Lady team-mates.

Pogba has teased a return to Juventus in the past, claiming he still speaks to Old Lady friends

Pogba has teased a return to Juventus in the past, claiming he still speaks to Old Lady friends

‘I want to finish well there in Manchester, then we’ll see what happens,’ said the Frenchman when asked about his future, which is far from a convincing answer. 

It is not the first time the midfielder has made vague and teasing comments about his future, with Pogba admitting last season it has been his all-time dream to play for Real Madrid.

‘Yes, all football players would love to play for Real Madrid,’ he announced in October 2020. ‘It is a dream for me, why not one day?’

And according to reports from ABC last month, Real are ready to offer Pogba just under £12million-a-year with a transfer bonus of just over £25m to convince him to swap Old Trafford for the Bernabeu at the end of the season.

Pogba (left) has teased a 'dream' move to Real Madrid, who also want Kylian Mbappe (right)

Pogba (left) has teased a ‘dream’ move to Real Madrid, who also want Kylian Mbappe (right)

Real Madrid would be keen to bring in Pogba given he would be a cheap option on a free transfer, which would suit their major attempts to overhaul their squad, with PSG’s Kylian Mbappe also a target. 

Meanwhile, Barcelona are another club who could take advantage of Pogba being a free agent next year, with the Catalans resorting to free transfer signings such as Sergio Aguero in recent years due to their £1.15billion club debt revealed this year. 

According to Spanish news outlet El Nacional, Pogba has emerged as the top summer transfer priority for Barcelona and incoming head coach Xavi Hernandez. 

Solskjaer (right) may not be in charge at United by the time Pogba (left) has to make a decision

Solskjaer (right) may not be in charge at United by the time Pogba (left) has to make a decision

This week marks two months until the Frenchman can start negotiating with any interested clubs on a pre-contract agreement and the picture over his future could not be more unclear. 

Before January 1, Pogba’s United face rivals Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, while they will also complete their Champions League group stage campaign.

Right now, Pogba is not performing for head coach Solskjaer, but will the Norwegian even be in charge of the Red Devils by the time he has to make a decision on extending his Old Trafford stay or leaving?

Pogba’s second spell at Old Trafford has often been described as a soap opera – and there’s the feeling that the next few months will follow suit in terms of drama.  

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