Jose Mourinho is “completely in the dark” about the motives of Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola, but stressed that the Manchester United midfielder has never told him that he wants to leave.
A cloud hangs over the club-record signing a month into the 2018-19 campaign, with reports of a tense relationship with the manager compounded by an apparent desire to move on.
Pogba even reportedly told executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward of his wish to leave Old Trafford as Barcelona circled, while the midfielder has so far avoided publicly committing to a side he returned to in 2016.
The Portuguese explained: “Paul came back after the World Cup in the week before we started the Premier League, so we are together for about two months or so.
“He never told me he wants to leave. Never. So, I can only comment on what is real for me, not in what I read, not in what I listen.
“I have no direct relation with the people that write or the people that listen.
“I have a direct relation with the players – not (just) Paul, the players – and he never told me he wants to leave.”
The United manager will also take what he reads about Pogba’s agent with a pinch of salt until implication becomes explicit.
Earlier this year Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola claimed Raiola offered the France international to him, with chatter continuing to bubble along into other opportunities in terms of moving.
“But in this moment, I am completely in the dark.
“The only thing that is clear for me is that the player never – in all these days we are together – told me he wants to leave.”
“You have to ask him,” Mourinho said when asked about such comments. “As a manager, I tell you the truth.
“That’s his problem, that’s his relation(ship) with the media – not with me. I am not going to comment on that.”
Pogba’s future was the subject of rife speculation over the summer, as was compatriot Anthony Martial’s.
Martial’s deal runs out next summer, although the club have an option for the following year, while the contracts of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata are also running down.
“I hope they will stay,” Mourinho said when asked about that quartet.
“I say the same and I hope that they stay. Of course, I am happy with the players.
“David is David (De Gea), no need of more words.
“Luke’s evolution makes us believe he goes in the right direction and of course I want to keep him.
“Juan and Ander, even if they are not playing or not playing a lot, not starting matches, by the personality point-of-view and character point-of-view, by what they represent in the modern society in football, they are almost unique pieces that I also don’t want to lose.”