Paul Pogba's Manchester United future unsettled by Jose Mourinho's criticism - sources
MANCHESTER, England -- Paul Pogba is becoming unsettled at Manchester United after feeling manager Jose Mourinho unfairly criticised him this summer, sources told ESPN FC.
Pogba would consider either a move to Barcelona or a return to Juventus if given the option, the sources added, as the midfielder is unhappy with some of his manager's comments made during the club's tour of the United States.
In an interview with ESPN FC two weeks ago, Mourinho questioned why Pogba's performances in Russia were so much better than his displays for United last season.
Despite Pogba's feelings, however, United have no intention of selling the Frenchman, according to one source, just two years after splashing out a then-world-record fee to bring him back to Old Trafford from Juventus.
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Pogba, 25, a favourite of executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, has three years left on his contract with the option of a further 12 months, and the club are under no pressure to sell. There is also no indication at this stage that Pogba is willing to agitate for a transfer.
Pogba, who did not accompany United on the U.S. tour, will meet Mourinho this week after returning to United's Carrington training centre Monday after a three-week break following France's World Cup triumph.
Mourinho said in July that Pogba got better as the World Cup progressed because the stakes only got higher and higher, whereas the ups and downs of the club season caused him to lose focus.
"I don't think it's about us getting the best out of him," Mourinho told ESPN FC. "It's about him giving the best he has to give. I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the best.
"Why? Because it's closed for a month, where he can only think about football. Where he's with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate.
"During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again."
Pogba endured a turbulent time at Old Trafford last season.
He was a regular in Mourinho's midfield, making 37 appearances in all competitions, and was impressive in the win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in April, scoring twice as United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
But he was dropped for a crucial Champions League tie with Sevilla in February in favour of 21-year-old Scott McTominay and was substituted during disappointing defeats at Tottenham and Newcastle as City ran away with the title.
In February, Mourinho also appeared to aim a dig at Pogba in his praise of McTominay following an FA Cup tie with Huddersfield.
"I think maybe it's because he [McTominay] is this kind of kid profile," he said. "A normal haircut, no tattoos, no big cars, no big watches, humble kid, arrive in the club when he was 9 or 10. ... I think the kid deserves a little bit more [recognition]."