In the build-up to Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over a rock-bottom Manchester United in December 2018, Jurgen Klopp was being quizzed on whether he would one day like to share a dressing room with a man who had been so often the subject of Jose Mourinho’s ire at Old Trafford.
“What can I say? Paul Pogba is a world-class player,” Klopp told The Standard, rather bemused by a highly hypothetical line of questioning.
“That’s all I can say, and he’s a Man United player so I think we should prepare for him as well.”
As Xherdan Shaqiri put United to the sword, bringing an overdue end to the Mourinho era, Pogba could do nothing but watch on from the sidelines; an unused sub, an expensive, £89 million afterthought.
Things have got rather better for Pogba since Mourinho’s dismissal of course – the World Cup winner has spoken warmly about the affable, encouraging Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – but the nagging concerns over his short-term future are as pertinent now as they were back in 2018.
From Man United to Liverpool for Paul Pogba?
According to The Mirror, Pogba has turned down the chance to sign a new £350,000-a-week deal.
With his current contract expiring next summer, Solskjaer and United have a decision to make. Do they sell for a knock-down fee of around £50 million or risk losing the most expensive player in their storied history for absolutely nothing 12 months later?
Just to add to the apprehension, Le10 Sport in France are now claiming that Mino Raiola, Pogba’s motor-mouth agent, has offered his most high-profile client to Liverpool of all teams.
Klopp, then, might find that he has some more awkward questions to answer before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August.
You’re more likely to see Gary Neville tattoo the Liver bird on his bare chest than see Manchester United let Pogba cross the north-west divide and join their most hated rivals.
Not since Phil Chisnal in 1964 has a player moved directly from Old Trafford to Anfield – despite Gabriel Heinze’s best efforts.
Raiola is no stranger to the dark arts and offering the France international to Liverpool feels, if anything, like a desperate attempt to convince United to accept an offer from Paris Saint-Germain instead.
But with Klopp’s admiration for the ‘world-class’ Pogba on record already, this is a rumour that will generate plenty of debate in Salford and Stanley Park.