The club can announce that Paul Pogba will leave Manchester United at the end of June, upon the expiry of his contract.
The Frenchman has enjoyed a long association with United, having joined the club’s Academy from Le Havre at the age of just 16.
Pogba quickly progressed through the ranks, first impressing in the Under-18s and then swiftly moving upwards to the Reserves.
He first drew widespread attention as part of the Youth Cup side that achieved the club’s unprecedented 10th success in 2011, playing in both legs of that year’s final against Sheffield United.
The following season, he was granted a first-team debut under Sir Alex Ferguson, in a 3-0 League Cup win away at Leeds United.
But in the summer of 2012, due to strong competition for places at Old Trafford, Pogba joined Italian giants Juventus.
He quickly became a success in Piedmont, helping La Vecchia Signora lift four consecutive Serie A titles and a couple of Coppa Italias.
However, in 2016, he made the emotional decision to return to Old Trafford, in a bid to continue the nascent United career he had begun in that breakthrough season of 2011/12.
He was immediately installed within the heart of Jose Mourinho’s new-look midfield, and his first campaign back in M16 was a strong success.
After a sublime ‘second’ debut against Southampton, where he wowed the crowd with his all-round midfield mastery, Pogba started two cup finals that would both result in the Reds lifting silverware.
First he starred in the 2017 League Cup final against Southampton, which resulted in a 3-2 win thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dramatic late winner. The Swede scored twice and, at full-time, Mourinho singled out both Zlatan and Paul as United’s outstanding players.
United moved on to the UEFA Europa League final in Solna, Stockholm a few months later, and it was Pogba who opened the scoring against Ajax, kickstarting a poignant 2-0 victory, just days after the tragic Manchester Arena bombing.
The subsequent 2017/18 season brought a promising second-placed finish, and arguably Paul’s most admired performance in a red shirt – in the chaotic and memorable Manchester derby of April 2018.
Crosstown rivals City headed into the match at the Etihad knowing that a victory would hand them the title, and with United forced to stand by and watch the crowing celebrations that would inevitably follow.
We found ourselves 2-0 down at half-time, with the Blues rampant. A torturous second half seemed imminent, but Pogba scored twice in quick succession to level the scores and silence the City crowd. Chris Smalling soon put United in front, completing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in derby history.
World Cup success followed for France that summer, where Pogba was instrumental in driving Les Bleus to a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the Moscow final, and a constant presence throughout the tournament.
Spurred on by that career high, the next season, 2018/19, would prove the most prolific in Pogba’s United career, yielding 16 goals in 47 appearances. But managerial changes – with Mourinho departing to be replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – resulted in a period of instability for the team.
Injury problems resulted in just 22 appearances across all competitions in 2019/20, though United battled to an encouraging third-placed finish under Solskjaer.
And the team’s upward trajectory continued in 2020/21, where two memorable stunners from Pogba – at Turf Moor and Craven Cottage – propelled United to the top of the table in January 2021.
Paul was also instrumental in Europe. Coming on at half-time in our Europa League round-of-16 second leg against AC Milan, he produced a sublime solo goal in the San Siro, edging United 2-1 ahead on aggregate and delivering the tie’s decisive moment.
He scored again in the semi-final against Roma, but was unable to prevent the Reds slipping to an agonising 11-10 penalty shootout defeat against Villarreal in the Gdansk final.
Pogba’s final season at the club started off in hugely promising fashion, with an astonishing four assists in our opening-day thrashing of Leeds United, but more injury problems would ultimately derail his ambitions.
The Frenchman made just 27 appearances under Solskjaer and the Norwegian’s replacement, interim manager Ralf Rangnick, and the last of his 233 United games ended in the 10th minute of a defeat at Anfield in April 2022, with Pogba forced to leave the field due to another unfortunate knock.
It was a low-key end to a United career that had brought so many individual high moments, so many beautiful goals, assists and pieces of skill.
But for a boy that joined the Academy at 16 to make over 200 United appearances and lift the Youth Cup, along with two major pieces of silverware – not to mention the World Cup at international level – is something that should be applauded and celebrated.
Everyone at the club would like to congratulate Paul on his successful career, and thank him for his contributions to Manchester United.
We wish him all the best for the next steps on a remarkable journey.