Manchester United have ‘accepted’ Paul Pogba will not agree to a new contract and have prepared themselves to lose him on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to reports.
Pogba, 28, has so far failed to agree to fresh terms to extend his second stint at Manchester United.
The French midfielder will be eligible to discuss pre-contract terms with clubs outside of England as early as January and ESPN report that United bosses have accepted Pogba is set to depart.
Manchester United re-signed Pogba for £89million back in 2016 but he has proven a divisive figure among pundits and supporters ever since and has recently found himself out of the starting line-up.
Calls for him and his agent Mino Raiola to agree to a new long-term contract have so far been dismissed and the report explains that there is a growing belief that he will leave the club for nothing.
United could look to raise some money by selling him in January but his suitors, which have previously included Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, are said to be focusing on next summer when he can join for free.
When asked about talks over a new deal, Raiola recently told The Times: ‘You would have to ask Manchester United about it. At this moment everything is calm. There is no update.’
There would be a feeling of deja vu at United if he does walk away next summer given this is the second time he has been running down his contract at Old Trafford.
Pogba left United, frustrated at a lack of opportunities as a young player under Sir Alex Ferguson, to join Juventus on a free back in 2012.
According to reports from ABC earlier this month, Real are ready to offer Pogba just under £12million-a-year with a transfer bonus of just over £25m to convince him to swap Old Trafford for the Bernabeu at the end of the season.
The Spanish outlet claims that Raiola is pushing for the deal to happen and that Real are hoping to pair Pogba and Kylian Mbappe with their France team-mate Karim Benzema.
Pogba is currently serving a three-match ban in the Premier League after he came on and saw red for a rash challenge on Naby Keita in the 5-0 humiliation by Liverpool.
Following that capitulation against Liverpool, which saw him sent off just 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute, club legend Paul Scholes said he wouldn’t be upset if that was his last outing for the club.
He told Premier League Productions: ‘To say a disappointing day would be a complete understatement.
‘I think we all realise it’s been difficult, I just think the manager got caught up in the emotion of the comeback [against Atalanta in the Champions League] on Wednesday night.
‘We keep going back to that game but you were never going to do that against Liverpool, they have too much quality.
‘I don’t think it was a lack of effort, I think tactically they were set up in a way where this could happen and unfortunately it did happen.
‘Paul Pogba coming on to the pitch at half-time to try and help the team and maybe get a little respectability about it, tries to stand on the ball, tries to show how strong he is in the middle of the pitch… gives the goal away.
‘Then later on gets sent off with a ridiculous tackle. Now you’re 5-0 down with 10 men. You’d have to think, if Ole’s still a manager there, will we see Pogba again in a United shirt?
‘He’s caused mayhem over the last couple of years. Everyone knows what a talent he is, everybody trusts him, every manager trusts him, tried to give him his head and let him be the player he’s been.
‘But with all the commotion, not signing his contract, almost holding the club to ransom, and then he comes on and does something like that.
‘It’s not Ole’s fault, don’t get me wrong, but that’s part of it which almost summed the United performance up today.
‘Look, he probably will play [again] won’t he? But I don’t think they will be missing anything if he doesn’t.
‘He’s had numerous chances, he keeps saying he lacks consistency, but that is just [a lack of] discipline and disrespect for your manager and your team-mates, what he’s done today.’