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Manchester United are under increased pressure to extend Paul Pogba’s contract after another top-class midfield option left the market on Thursday. This summer, the Red Devils were linked with an interest in Leon Goretzka as his contract neared its 2022 expiry.
But Goretzka has committed his future to Bayern Munich, signing a four-year extension until 2026, ending Man United’s hopes of sealing a blockbuster free transfer.
There was always a feeling at United according to the Manchester Evening News that the Germany international was using them to earn an improved contract at Bayern, and that theory has seemingly been proven right.
He told the official club website: “We’ve won everything there is to win over the past three years.
“But what would be even better than winning titles is confirming and repeating these successes. We want to build on this in the coming years.
“The team, the club and the environment are not just highly professional, but also familiar. This mixture is one of the things that guarantees success at this club. I’m very happy to be extending my contract until 2026.”
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Man Utd were linked with Leon Goretzka in the summer. (Image: GETTY)
Pogba hasn’t yet signed on the dotted line at Old Trafford and is closing in on a second departure as a free agent unless he puts pen to paper soon.
The 28-year-old also ran his contract down in 2012, joining Juventus as a teenager before flourishing into one of Europe’s best midfielders.
He returned to Man United in 2016 for a then-world-record £89million fee, but five years on is on the verge of repeating history.
With potential replacements significantly cut in recent months, the pressure is on to prevent that from happening.
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As well as Goretzka, another midfield target in Eduardo Camavinga snubbed a move to England to join Real Madrid.
Saul Niguez also left Atletico Madrid for Chelsea on a season-long loan, and the Blues have the option to make it a permanent deal.
If Pogba was to leave, there could be minimal targets to pursue, with Camavinga and Saul considered high on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s list.
Given Man United are also expected to focus on a defensive midfielder – particularly West Ham United’s Declan Rice – it isn’t easy to see the club splashing big money on another midfield star.
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Paul Pogba is in the final 10 months of his Man Utd contract. (Image: GETTY)
Wolves’ Ruben Neves and Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans have recently been linked, but both could demand big fees.
Another season in England could prepare Donny van de Beek to fill Pogba’s shoes, but he’s yet to convince with the chances he’s had.
There’s a growing feeling that if Pogba departs next summer, there will be a severe struggle to replace him adequately.
However, if reports are to be believed, the Frenchman could be leaning towards extending terms at Old Trafford after being left impressed by United’s recent transfer dealings.