Rio Ferdinand has hit out at Manchester United’s impending decision to let Paul Pogba leave on a free transfer after being signed for a club-record fee of £89million in 2016
The Red Devils are set to wave goodbye to the 29-year-old once his contract expires in June, despite playing a club-record £89million for his services in 2016.
Not only will Pogba – who was first let go by the the 20-time English champions in 2012 after leaving the club’s academy – be leaving, though, Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard are also big-earners on track to depart Old Trafford come the end of the term, having seen their own deals run down.
Ex-United stalwart Ferdinand, who himself was let go on a free transfer eight years ago after signing for a club-record fee in 2002, has claimed that his old employers have had their ‘pants pulled down’ by Pogba.
Unlike his situation, which saw him phased out in favour of up-and-coming defenders in 2014, the No.6 remains a key player for interim manager Ralf Rangnick, but has been criticised by supporters, alongside multiple teammates, for a lack of fight.
When told that selecting players who will be leaving before the new season begins is risky because they “don’t care,” Ferdinand responded on his YouTube channel, FIVE, by declaring: “That’s because business has been done poorly I think at the club.
“I don’t think we should be allowed players to get down to this stage of their contracts, I don’t think it should happen.
“If someone like Marcus [Rashford], like Pogba, you want to keep these players if they’re playing well, if you have the desire to keep them get it done and dusted.
“Economically, to let someone leave you’ve spent £80m-£90m, come in and leave plus wages, leave on a free transfer is absolutely criminal. Twice. He pulled our pants down twice. Unbelievable.”
While Rashford has a contract with the Red Devils until June 2023 and there is an option to extend his deal for a further year, Pogba is set to sign for a new club over the summer. Recently, the Frenchman, represented by super agent Mino Raiola, vented his frustration when discussing a disappointing second spell with United which has heralded no major trophies.
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Speaking to Paris-based outlet Le Figaro, Pogba declared: “You have to be honest, the last five seasons have not satisfied me – really not at all.
“This year it is dead, we won’t win anything. Whether it is with Manchester United or at another club, I want to win trophies.”
The midfielder went on to lament his role at his club, adding: “It’s simple with France, I play and I play in my position – I know my role and I feel the confidence of the coach and the players.
“It’s normal to feel a difference at Manchester United because it’s hard to be consistent when you often have a change to your position, or the team system, or your partners.
“I get along very well with [Les Blues boss Didier Deschamps ], he gave me a role that I know, but at Manchester United do I really have a role? I ask the question but I don’t have an answer.” While the prospect of remaining in Manchester has not been totally ruled out by Pogba, former club Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are reportedly on the hunt for his signature.