Former Man Utd star Jaap Stam has urged the Red Devils to keep Paul Pogba as he can see him playing a key role for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side still.
The 27-year-old has endured a frustrating season so far this year as he has been limited to just eight appearances across all competitions due to injury.
Bruno Fernandes arrived in January to hand United a major boost as they remain in contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League as well as for the FA Cup and Europa League.
All that with Pogba sidelined for the large part of the campaign could arguably lead to suggestions that they can cope without him and should perhaps move him on this summer if offers are received with Juventus and Real Madrid specifically mentioned as possible options by Goal.
However, Stam doesn’t agree with that and has discussed how Pogba could flourish alongside Fernandes in Man Utd’s midfield.
“I would love to see Paul stay because I think he’s a quality player,” he told Goal.com. “People expect a lot from him and there’s a lot of criticism towards him. Sometimes you can say that’s fair but other times the criticism he gets is not correct.
“He needs to get fit first but I would be happy if he did stay and played another season.
“Pogba is a player who is creative, who wants to play a little bit in his own way, and sometimes you need to give him that little bit of freedom. If you look at Fernandes, Pogba and McTominay, I think those three together in midfield could be very interesting.
“Fernandes could play at No.10 and Pogba could play as one of the two sitting midfield players.
“He has the legs to go forward as well so you could play with two attacking midfield players if things are going well, but otherwise he can drop next to McTominay and they could play with just one No.10.
“Pogba has the legs to run from box to box, so if he can do that it will give him more of the freedom he wants to play. I think it would be very interesting.”
There’s no denying Pogba remains a world-class player on his day, but his issue since returning to Old Trafford has been the inconsistency as he hasn’t performed at the level that he’s capable of week in and week out.
Pairing him with the creativity and technical quality of Fernandes and the work ethic and solidity of McTominay could give him the freedom to really express himself as Stam suggests, and so it remains to be seen if Man Utd and Solskjaer are thinking the same way.
That said, the World Cup-winning French international’s current contract expires in 2021, and although United have the option to extend for a further 12 months, time will tell if the two parties are ready to commit to one another.