By Danny Armstrong
Danny Armstrong is a Moscow-based British journalist, reporter and presenter for RT Sport. Follow him on Twitter @DannyWArmstrong
Man United legend Andrei Kanchelskis believes Paul Pogba should tell agent Mino Raiola to “shut up” if he is happy at the club, insisting it is the in-form midfielder’s responsibility to categorically express his wishes.
Dutch-Italian super agent Raiola has consistently been a thorn in United’s side having often hinted at Pogba’s alleged desire for a move away from Old Trafford, and voicing his own intentions to broker a move to either Real Madrid or PSG for his client, having said in December the Frenchman’s time is “over” at his current club.
Pogba is currently enjoying a rich vein of form during an extended run in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first team, having scored the winning goals in each of the Reds’ last two Premier League wins against Burnley and Fulham and is apparently content with his football.
Kanchelskis, speaking on ‘Down the Line’ on RT Sport, insists the World Cup-winning midfielder, believes that if Pogba is happy, he must himself take responsibility and tell Raiola in no uncertain terms his intentions to those who represent him to avoid unwanted headlines.
“This is a decision for him, for Pogba. If he says ‘listen shut up’ or ‘go away, close your mouth ok I [would] like to stay in Manchester’ it’s finish, close, finish discussion. This is a decision for Pogba. If he says ‘I’m happy, thank you very much’ – ok, no problem,” Kanchelskis said.
“It’s good for him and also for Man United you know. Three points, he scores the goal. What I’m saying is Pogba always speaks about Pogba. In any papers: ‘Pogba is not happy, Pogba is angry’ blah blah blah. Ok, if you don’t like Man United please go, why?
“I never say he’s a bad player. He’s a good player. Good player, but too much speaking in the papers. I don’t know what’s maybe agent speaking about him. Maybe him. If [he doesn’t] like then ok open the door go away. No problem.
“What am I saying? I’m not saying Pogba is a bad player. I’m saying he’s a good player. But I’m seeing always in the headlines ‘Pogba, Pogba, Pogba’. Happy, worrying, angry.
“This is a decision for him. If he’s happy, if he’s enjoying his time at Man United, why move? Maybe agent is always speaking about ‘move, move, move’ because the agent needs the money. If you sell, it’s good money for the agent. Maybe, I don’t know. This is a decision for Pogba,” the 1991 European Super Cup winner added.
Kanchelskis’ exit from Manchester United after four years was tainted by his own trouble with agents, with the Russian international leaving after talks between his own agent and United officials broke down amid rumors of attempted bribery and alleged threats.
The 51-year-old has expressed concern at taking heed of Raiola’s advice, who has been something of a thorn in the side of United fans, dating back to the Frenchman’s days coming through the Old Trafford ranks, and negotiated his move away from the club to Juventus for less than £1million in 2012.
When quizzed during a talk last year as to why the highly-touted youngster had been allowed to leave for next to nothing, then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson opened up about the event and singled out Raiola as the problem, labelling him a “shitbag”, something that Kanchelskis admits sounds familiar.
“Not only Sir Alex Ferguson say it about this agent, you know. Too many people say it about him,” he said. “Football people, you know. Because they say it’s a bad agent. I agree. I agree because too many time you hear it about this agent, bad story. I agree with Sir Alex Ferguson.”