Ferguson: Pogba agent is difficult
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Manchester United are finding Paul Pogba’s agent "difficult" to handle.
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 is often compared to fellow Frenchman Patrick Vieira in his playing style, and 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."