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Paul Pogba staying could switch Manchester United’s transfer focus towards a new centre-back

The Athletic‘s news regarding Paul Pogba on Tuesday morning was widely celebrated by the Manchester United fan-base.

Correspondent Laurie Whitwell claimed that the Frenchman staying at Old Trafford this summer now looks ‘inevitable’. Much speculation has been surrounding the 27-year-old’s future, but numerous factors have come into play, that significantly downplay the chances of him departing United.

The global pandemic of the coronavirus is no doubt the biggest influencer, as given the fragile economical climate, serious doubts have been placed on football club’s abilities to spend lavishly this summer. Should nobody be able to match United’s valuation, they will not be letting their prize asset leave the club, without at least recuperating the £89m they paid for him back in 2016.

Ed Woodward also has a barrier of protection, with the Frenchman possessing a one-year extension clause in his contract. The club are able to trigger this without the player’s consent, meaning his value will be protected, until 2021 at least.

On a more positive note, Pogba is also a happy figure around the AON training complex. The January arrival of Bruno Fernandes has elevated the side and given the Frenchman a world class partner to work with in the middle of the park. He also has a strong relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a manager that has constantly reiterated a desire to build his team around the midfielder.

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The significance of Pogba staying cannot be overestimated in any sense of the word, and according to ESPN, it could impact United’s transfer plans this summer. They report that the club could now subsequently divert funds for a new central midfielder, towards a new centre-back instead.

Solskjaer’s eagerness to bring in a new CM has been well documented, with publications like the Manchester Evening News and Bleacher Report citing his key interest in Jack Grealish. The Aston Villa skipper will likely depart should his club go down this season, and United are reportedly ready to pounce.

As per the ESPN though, the Red Devils may switch their focus towards a new CB. The club has had to deal with injuries to Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe for the majority of the campaign, leaving just Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof at the manager’s disposal.

Although both defenders have struck up a solid partnership, fans have been calling for an upgrade on the Swede. Is this a bigger priority than adding to a midfield that already boasts Pogba and Bruno Fernandes? In a Covid-19 effected transfer market, Solskjaer may have to make this decision.

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