Manchester United fans had to pinch themselves when the summer transfer window finally closed last week after a frenzied finish that saw them celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo’s return on top of two already impressive signings.
The fact that Paul Pogba and his outspoken agent Mino Raiola have remained unusually quiet as he approaches the last year of his current contract is possibly the clearest sign of such regeneration.
The anticipation for Ronaldo’s return has been so high that lines for his No.7 shirt haven’t slowed down in recent days; it’ll be another busy week at the Megastore ahead of his possible second debut this weekend.
It’s the appropriate answer from a club that split opinion last season by labelling it a year of ‘progress.’ For a club that claims to be the best in the world, it is contentious to accept positives when there’s no new silverware to shine.
Raiola claimed in December that Pogba’s United career was “over” and that he planned to arrange a transfer in the summer window, but such a move was essentially thwarted in the previous two summer windows due to the financial effects of the global epidemic.
Time for the new challenge
However, it’s a significant change from Pogba’s position two years ago, when he publicly stated his desire for a “new challenge” in his career, based on reports from The Guardian.
“There is a lot of thinking [going on],” the French midfielder stated in June 2019. “I have been three years in Manchester and have been doing great – some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody, like everywhere else.
“After this season and everything that happened, with my season being my best season… it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
United has never looked like true Premier League title contenders in the two years since, but with significant summer reinforcements, there is growing hope of a title parade around Old Trafford next May.
If Pogba’s ultimate ambition is to win trophies, there are few teams who can provide him with the same opportunity as United over the next season.