SAF: Pogba agent being difficult

The 18-year-old only arrived at Old Trafford from Le Havre in 2009

amid a huge amount of controversy, yet it appears he is already

getting itchy feet. A member of last season’s FA Youth Cup winning

side, Pogba has so far spurned United’s offer of a contract

extension amid rumours that Italian giants Inter Milan are

interested in acquiring his services. Manchester City have also

been linked with the teenager, who made three substitute

appearances on United’s run to the quarter-finals of the Carling

Cup this term. Contrary to previous reports, which suggested

Pogba’s contract expires in the summer, Ferguson revealed United

have a 12 month option on the present deal. However, talks over an

improvement in Pogba’s terms are not progressing smoothly. “Pogba

has an agent who has obviously become a bit difficult,” said the

United boss. “But we are negotiating and we want the boy to stay.

“If he doesn’t want to there is not a lot you can do about it. You

just hope he gets the right advice. “We have an option on his

contract so in that respect there is not a great emergency. But if

he wants to be a Manchester United player he knows what to do.” The

suggestion seems to be that Pogba has been offered more money

elsewhere. Given his lack of experience, United are unlikely to

match those lucrative terms. However, Ferguson has offered some

fairly straightforward advice for the teenager, who is set to be

propelled into United’s Premier League squad over Christmas

following confirmation Darren Fletcher is going to be missing for

an indefinite period due to a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.

“Matt Busby summed it up perfectly when he said you don’t need to

chase money at a club like Manchester United,” said Ferguson. “He

said it will eventually find you if you are a good enough player.

“You become rich playing for Manchester United. Players can chase

money early in their career but at the end it is not the same as if

they’d stayed here. “The player has to take the decision himself

but you wouldn’t think you’d need to consider what he has too long.

“He just needs to look around him to realise.” As Tom Cleverley and

Anderson were on the long-term injury list before Fletcher was

struck down, Ferguson is short of options for the pre-Christmas

trips to QPR and Fulham. Even in Ferguson’s long time as manager,

it is unusual to encounter such a list of significant problems in

one specific area of the field. However, with Fletcher, it was an

issue that had been rumbling on for some time. United initially

dismissed the Scot’s absence in March as “a virus”, maintaining

that stance even when Fletcher failed to return for six weeks and

then missed the summer tour of America. When he sat out the

Champions League defeat to Basle last week, even though Phil Jones

and Ryan Giggs were paired together in central midfield, there was

no point maintaining the pretence. “It’s easier now it’s out in the

open,” said Ferguson. “That was the big decision he had to make.

“We were trying to address the confidentiality part by talking

about a virus but that was to protect Darren. “He got to the

position, particularly in Scotland where there was more delving,

where he felt a bit uncomfortable so he decided to make it public.”

Ferguson confirmed there was no timescale to Fletcher’s recovery

programme, and that the 27-year-old has spent a couple of days in

hospital. “The medical people have made the right decision,” he

said. “They regarded Darren’s health as the more important issue

and we agree completely with that. “He’s not been in training – he

was in hospital for a few days, and he’ll rest now.” Ferguson has

previously stated he expects Cleverley to have recovered from an

ankle injury at some stage over the festive programme. It is not

anticipated the Yorkshireman will be fit to face QPR at Loftus Road

on Sunday. Yet still there is no intention for Ferguson to enter

the transfer market. “We are not panicking,” he said. “There is no

point crying about it. You have the injuries and you deal with

them. “We have players who are capable of wearing the red jersey

and we have complete confidence they can do well.”