Man United's Pogba pictured with Real Madrid boss Zidane in Dubai

EXCLUSIVE: Mata labels Pogba racism 'cowardly' (1:07)

Juan Mata criticised racist comments aimed at Paul Pogba as "cowardly" in an interview with ESPN's Rob Dawson. (1:07)

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been pictured alongside Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane in Dubai, following a summer of speculation the pair were interested in linking up in the Spanish capital.

Pogba had said he was interested in a "new challenge," while Zidane made his admiration for his compatriot public. However, Pogba stayed at Old Trafford.

- ESPN La Liga fantasy: Sign up now!
- When does the transfer window reopen?

But this image, captured by UK newspaper the Daily Mirror, adds to the speculation Pogba could make a move to the Bernabeu in the future.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Pogba remains Zidane's No. 1 midfield target, while president Florentino Perez is keen to sign Christian Eriksen from Tottenham in a cut-price deal.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about the picture in his news conference previewing Sunday's huge clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford, but said he did not have a problem with it.

"Paul is part of our plan," Solskjaer said. "He's been playing through the pain barrier but when he came back against Rochdale and Arsenal he wanted to play but it was too painful.

"He's on the way back and he's recovering. It's a picture and when you play for Manchester United you have pictures taken and there's speculation. I don't have any problem with that at all."

Zidane also played down the encounter when asked in his news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Mallorca.

"[It was] pure chance," he said. "He was there and I was too.

"And, as we know each other, we spoke. I won't tell you what it's about as it's personal. We have known each other for a long time. We crossed paths, we stopped and we spoke."

Asked whether, Pogba remains an option in January, he said: "There are many options, just like for every club. When we reach this date, the clubs will decide.

"We have a squad, with some players unable to play, but tomorrow we will have 11 players and others on the bench. We will find a solution"

He added: "Until the end of January every club will be able to sign [but] I care about tomorrow's game and I can't think about signings. It's far and it's not the most important thing."

Sources have told ESPN FC that Pogba has made clear his desire to leave United but that the club are relaxed about the situation because the midfielder has two years on his contract with the option of a further 12 months.

United are keen to negotiate a fresh contract with the 26-year-old but if they meet a roadblock they would value the France international at between £180 million and £200m and there is significant doubt about whether interested clubs such as Real Madrid and Juventus could afford to finance a deal.

Pogba, 26, has missed much of the season through injury and will again sit out the game against Liverpool due to a problem with his ankle, and has been aiding his recovery with training in Dubai.