Paul Pogba must repay Ralf Rangnick with final Manchester United gift – Liam Wood

Will he or won’t he?

Speculation over Paul Pogba and his Manchester United future has been a seemingly permanent talking point at Old Trafford and beyond for considerable time, and there appears to be clarity in that respect as the World Cup winner gears-up to leave the club for nothing, once again, at the end of this season.

A decade on from his first departure to Juventus, the Italian giants are keen on re-signing Pogba.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid continue to circle around him, too, representing two further options.

Elite suitors will not exactly be at a premium for a player who continues to divide opinion like no other at United. However, as the closing scenes of his second act draw closer, more must be done to ensure Pogba draws a line on this particular chapter with a deserved parting gift.

Since returning to the United team through injury in recent weeks, he has provided a snap-shot of his entire Old Trafford career.

Impressive against Middlesbrough, effective against Burnley and Brighton – he was imperious at times against arch rivals Leeds, too – but Pogba went missing when United headed to the fearsome Wanda Metropolitano for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 showdown.

It has to be said, the Frenchman was not alone there.

Parity was restored by Anthony Elanga against Atletico Madrid on a night when the younger’s senior colleagues were unable to deliver on a hostile stage against ‘in your face’ opponents.

Still, this is not Atletico in the truest Diego Simeone guise and United should still be quietly confident about their chances of progressing through the second leg at Old Trafford on March 15.

With that game comes a perfect opportunity for Pogba to repay United and Ralf Rangnick.

Barring a contract U-turn, United are now preparing for life after Pogba and, as such, extensive game-time being offered to him by Rangnick could have quite easily gone to Donny van de Beek, for example, rather than sanction his loan to Everton.

Rangnick knows what Pogba is capable of and was prepared to give him special treatment because of that.

His presence in the line-up alone appears to have calmed Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, slightly. Another player held in some circles as ‘world class’ was always going to have that effect. Even the doubters will admit ability has never been the question with Pogba.

Rather than ‘will he, won’t he’, the conundrum now appears to be which club Pogba will settle on.

And that has provided clarity in its own way and the Frenchman can focus solely on producing the goods on-field for United and Rangnick, who even suggested Pogba should put himself in the shop window.



Ralf Rangnick speaks with his backroom staff at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The prospect of silverware in the Premier League and both domestic cup competitions has come and gone.

An ‘against all odds’ triumph in the Champions League remains a (slim) possibility, though. Pogba will need to conjure up his best form for United to have any hope of living out that dream, that’s for sure.

A winner’s medal from the marquee European competition would completely justify Rangnick and his decision.

However, there will be other defining factors in that respect, so Pogba must do all he can and ensure that his Leeds display is the benchmark and not the anomaly between now and the end of the season.

That, at the very least, is what Rangnick and United supporters deserve.

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