Man Utd: Pogba hones skills amid exit talk
Manchester United could have the perfect replacement for Paul Pogba in Sporting Lisbon star Pedro Goncalves who has filled the void left by Bruno Fernandes at the club impressively. United are expected to sell Pogba in the summer to recoup as much of the £89million they paid Juventus for him back in 2016.
The decision comes after Mino Raiola’s comments last month saying the World Cup winner’s career at Old Trafford was over.
Since then Pogba has impressed for United but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward are resigned to losing the France international.
The Red Devils have a history in making good signings from the Portuguese league underlined by Fernandes’ arrival last January.
He has scored 18 goals and provided 13 assists in 33 appearances for the club since joining.
That has helped United to second in the Premier League and level on points with champions Liverpool.
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Cristiano Ronaldo arrived from Portugal as well as Victor Lindelof, Nani, Anderson, Diogo Dalot, Marcos Rojo and Bebe.
With the exception of Bebe you could make an argument to say all of those have been successful to varying degrees at Old Trafford.
Now, United should have Goncalves on their radar as they seek a replacement for Pogba.
The central midfielder is top of the league’s scoring charts with 11 goals in 11 appearances with none from the penalty spot.
The 22-year-old has helped fire Sporting to the top of the table as a result.
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Goncalves is comfortable on both feet and his similarities to Fernandes are striking.
Both average similar shots-per-90 rate with Fernandes (3.43) shooting slightly more than the young star (2.29).
The Wolves academy graduate could be the perfect solution to replace Pogba as Woodward and Solskjaer look to continue to strengthen the squad.
Meanwhile, Fernandes wants to do even better at United as he enters his second year at the club.
He said: “It’s easy when you play in a team like United because there are so many good players around you. They help you to be better and I am here to help them be better.
“So I think, of course, numbers are really good but it is now that I need to start to improve.
“It will be more difficult from now and I mean difficult day-by-day and game-by-game because the [opposition] players will know me better.
“Of course, I am really happy to have these numbers and, obviously, it is not easy to get to this point with these numbers but I want to do better and better, more and more.
“I want to finish the Premier League this season with more goals and assists than games. That would be good.”
United return to action against Manchester City on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
After that attention then turns to the FA Cup third round and a clash with Watford at the weekend.
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