By News Team
18th August 2021
Former Manchester United star Lee Sharpe has told William Hill that he remains hopeful that Paul Pogba will stay at Old Trafford beyond next season if the club have silverware to celebrate by the end of the season.
The former Juventus midfielder played a starring role for the Red Devils in their 5-1 thrashing of Leeds on Saturday by creating four goals and impressing with his overall play. That has since prompted supporters to call for the club to do all they can to keep the Frenchman, with his current deal due to expire at the end of the season.
“Pogba carves teams open like no one else can when he’s on his game,” Sharpe told William Hill. “He takes the ball in tight areas, he’s good under pressure and can spot a pass. I know at times he can let United down defensively, but sometimes you have to forego that for what he brings offensively to the team like he did on Saturday (against Leeds). And when you’ve also got someone like Bruno (Fernandes) being clever and making runs off the ball, it’s a partnership made in heaven.
“I’ve always been a Pogba fan, and I hope he stays. I hope he’s encouraged by what he sees and with the team getting stronger and knocking on the door for success, I really hope he pledges his career to United.”
Pogba has been linked with a move back to France with PSG, and with the French side currently boasting some of the biggest stars in world football in new recruit Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Sergio Ramos to name a few, Sharpe understands why the midfielder would be tempted by a move to the French capital.
Sharpe added: “If I was Paul Pogba, it would be a very tough decision, to either play in front of 70,000 fans at Old Trafford and have the high energy and electric atmospheres in the Premier League or go back home to France and play for PSG with Neymar, (Kylian) Mbappe and (Lionel) Messi. I could see why he’d be tempted to do that. It’s impossible to tell, but at the moment it doesn’t look like he wants to sign the contract and could go for free next year, which would entice PSG more.
“Let’s hope he’s successful with United this season and he’s enticed enough by what he sees this season to stay. I think the team’s looking stronger, and they can play on the front foot with him having a little bit more freedom, so hopefully we do see the best Paul Pogba as it would be a sensational season if he plays like that most games.
“Last season he had injuries and wasn’t quite match fit, which affected his confidence. If he does leave, it’d be great to see one season where he plays like the Paul Pogba we know he can be.”
While Sharpe was happy with his former side’s start to the season, and believes it was a strong statement of intent that the club will be fighting for the title, he remains cautious around Manchester City’s loss and still expects Pep Guardiola’s side to bounce back from their opening-day loss to Spurs.
He said: “It was a statement of intent when you look at other results, but I don’t like to look too much into results so early on in the season,” said Sharpe. “Manchester City will be disappointed with their result, but they’ve got players to come back after the tournament in the summer, and I don’t think anyone will be panicking just yet.”
Sharpe also spoke highly of United star Mason Greenwood, who scored and impressed in Saturday’s victory, and he expects him to have a huge part to play for the Red Devils if given time.
“Mason Greenwood is still young, so there’s no rush for him to be first choice No.9, but for a club like Manchester United that’s a big ask for someone so young,” said Sharpe. “So, when you have the likes of Edinson Cavani ready to step in then it’s not a ‘make or break’ season for Mason. I think this season will still be a learning curve and there’s still time for him to make a huge impact for the club. The club love him to bits and have time to bring him on at the right pace.
“Then when you also have the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford still to come in, if you’re a defender and you’re thinking of facing them and the pace they have, you’re not going to be sleeping well on the Friday night before that game!”
“They have unbelievable ability, pace, and power,” Sharpe added. “And if you add Anthony Martial to the mix, and he comes back having had a good preseason, alongside Cavani that’s a devastating front four to have available. There will be goals, there will be chances, and they will be able to compete with anybody on their day. It’s all about mentality now and believing they are a championship-winning team.”
One player Sharpe believes may have to move on is Jesse Lingard, due to the lack of opportunities for regular first team football available at United.
He said: “I think Jesse’s down the pecking order, and if he stays he can get a number of minutes but I don’t see it being a lot. There’s a lot of midfielders who play in his place that may get played before him. We saw from his time at West Ham that he’s still a quality player, and can score goals, but at his age I just wonder if it’s time for Jesse to move on and play elsewhere to enjoy his football, especially if he has England aspirations.”