Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has suggested that he could be open to a move away from the Premier League, but sources have told ESPN that the club expect him to remain at Old Trafford next season.
Pogba has been linked with a move to Real Madrid to work with coach Zinedine Zidane, or with a return to Juventus. However, the 26-year-old has a contract until 2021 with United holding an option to extend the deal by another 12 months, and the club have been clear that they are under no pressure to sell.
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Sources told ESPN back in May that Pogba would force an exit this summer even if United were not open to a sale. The Frenchman's time in England has coincided with some insipid performances on the pitch and organisational turmoil at the club and, during a promotional tour of Japan, the World Cup winner stated for the first time his intention to quit Old Trafford just three years after returning from Juventus.
"Like you said, there is a lot of talking and a lot of thinking as well," Pogba told reporters in Tokyo. "For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else.
"After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well... I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else."
The Frenchman was in Tokyo to play in a four-a-side tournament pic.twitter.com/K8Tu0a5u73— Jack Tarrant (@TarrantJack) June 16, 2019
Pogba, who moved to Old Trafford from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3m ($112.43m) in August 2016, has seen Jose Mourinho replaced as coach by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his time at the club.
Although inconsistent, the World Cup winner has scored 24 goals in 92 appearances for United and was named in last season's PFA Premier League Team of the Year.
Mino Raiola, the agent who represents players including Pogba and Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, has had his worldwide ban lifted by FIFA, making the possibility of a transfer easier.
Should Pogba force a move, sources have told ESPN FC United have identified Tottenham's Christian Eriksen and Leicester's James Maddison as possible replacements.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham are also interested in 22-year-old Maddison, who impressed in his first season in the Premier League following his move to the King Power Stadium from Norwich last summer.
Eriksen is open to a move away from Tottenham after helping Mauricio Pochettino's side reach the Champions League final. The Denmark international, who has been at the club for six years, is also on Real Madrid's radar.
Solskjaer is already targeting at least one new midfielder this summer after Ander Herrera left on a free transfer. The Spaniard is expected to join Paris Saint-Germain.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.