Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Sir Alex Ferguson the reason Paul Pogba will snub Manchester United

Paul Pogba sees the continuing presence of Sir Alex Ferguson as an impediment to him returning to Manchester United

Manchester United's former prodigy Paul Pogba feels such a deep grievance about the way he was treated by Sir Alex Ferguson that he has ruled out any notion of returning to Old Trafford.

United – who were last night close to moving Anderson to Fiorentina – allowed Pogba's contract to run down two years ago before he joined Juventus.

It was Ferguson's apparent reluctance to believe in the Frenchman and give him the chance to demonstrate his talents in the first team that led him to feel antipathy towards the former manager.

Pogba's view seems to be that Ferguson's continued presence at the club is an impediment to any return. Moyes last night scouted the PSG-Bordeaux game in Paris.

The efforts United have made to secure and nurture Adnan Januzaj offer a striking contrast to Pogba. Ferguson was also unimpressed by the midfielder's agent, Mino Raiola, making what he considered unreasonable demands for a teenager.

While Januzaj has burst on to the Premier League scene this season, Pogba was given only 67 minutes of Premier League football by Ferguson at the same age, in the 2011-12 campaign.

He did not start a solitary first-team match for United before rejecting a new contract at Old Trafford and taking the Italian club's more lucrative offer. He was a major part of the Juventus team from the start of the following Serie A season, has never looked back and is now valued at close to £40m.

Though some at United will point to the money being demanded by Pogba and Raiola two years ago, the integral role the Juventus coach, Antonio Conte, has given the player has let him develop as a full France international and he is likely to play a significant role for Didier Deschamps' side at this summer's World Cup.

The 20-year-old's performances have led to United being linked with a move to bring him back, with Moyes and first-team coach Jimmy Lumsden in Cagliari on Sunday to see Juventus's 4-1 win. But Pogba seems destined either to stay in Turin or move to Paris Saint-Germain, a club which appeals to his Parisian roots.

Pogba's progress in the past two years led Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to say yesterday that United must have been "blind" to let the player out of their grasp.

"He is one of those players who leaves you speechless," said Buffon.

"When he came we didn't know him but after only three or four training sessions we were impressed by his enormous qualities. My team-mates and me looked at each other as (if) to say 'Are they blind in Manchester?'"

There are substantial doubts as to whether United will seek to take the Portuguese wing-back Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid, despite Moyes' attempts to secure him in the summer transfer window.

Coentrao has been suffering a thigh injury and has played only one game since November 2 and has a mere total of four appearances all season.

United's position remains that they will not be panicked into buying because of a potentially frenetic battle for a Champions League place.

The slide in share price during the difficult managerial transition has knocked $250m (£152m) off the value of the club, though that is not the reason why a planned offer of £250m of new shares has not been advanced.

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