In a strange way, it is almost fitting that Mino Raiola chose the biggest week of Manchester United’s season to undermine them.
The pompous super-agent who has cashed in monstrously since the post-Sir Alex Ferguson downfall has made a mockery of one of sport’s greatest institutions once again.
But this time, his egocentric comments will dominate build-up to vital games against RB Leipzig and Manchester City where United could seriously turn a corner. The timing is impeccably dire.
Ferguson has been unequivocal in his opinion on the man he described eight years ago as a ‘S***bag’.
A penny for the great Scot’s thoughts tonight on the Italian’s latest farcical outburst on the eve of a decisive Champions League occasion.
“Paul is unhappy at Man Utd, he can’t manage to express himself like he wants to and like people expect him to,” Raiola has told Tuttosport, as per Sky Sports, of the star runner in his lavish stable.
“He needs to change team, he needs a change of scenery. He has a contract that will expire in a year and a half, in the summer of 2022, but the best solution for all parties is a transfer in the next (summer) window.”
United’s indulgence of Paul Pogba, a luxury individual who has not justified the circus around him in four years, has left them susceptible to being treated with contempt, and Raiola has duly obliged.
Pogba’s star-quality has never been doubted and his wonderful equaliser against West Ham sparked a ninth consecutive away Premier League victory on Sunday.
That impact almost certainly put him in line for a start in the game against RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena, where United can qualify for the Champions League knockout stages if they avoid defeat.
But Raiola’s toxicity has once again highlighted Pogba’s reluctance to stay and undermines his manager completely.
Where does that leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is already under scrutiny 60 minutes before kick-off for every team selection?
Well, his decision is actually pretty straightforward.
Pogba is not an impressionable youngster, rather a 27-year-old World Cup winner who has his own voice.
So if asked to correct Raiola and distance himself from distracting speculation that he has surely not permitted, there should be no hesitation.
And if the Frenchman refuses, he must be dropped entirely.