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Mata wants Pogba to extend Manchester United stay

July 23, 2019 11:11 IST

As a teammate and a friend I would like him to stay and be happy because he is a very good player for us

IMAGE: 'As a teammate and a friend I would like Paul Pogba to stay and be happy because he is a very good player for us'. Photograph: Action Images via Lee Smith/Reuters

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is a positive influence in the dressing room and must extend his stay at the club to help bring trophies back to Old Trafford, teammate Juan Mata said.

Pogba said last month that he could seek a new challenge after three years at United, while his agent recently told The Times that the 26-year-old intends to leave the club amid reports linking him to Juventus and Real Madrid.

 

However, Mata wants Pogba's future to include United winning "big trophies" in 2019-20 campaign, having failed to lift a major trophy since their Europa League triumph in May 2017.

"We all know Paul and he is a fantastic midfielder, and a very good guy, very positive, and a good influence for everyone," Spanish midfielder Mata told Sky Sports.

"As a teammate and a friend I would like him to stay and be happy because he is a very good player for us.

"We know we have to do better than last season. This club has won more trophies than any other club in England. We want to win big trophies again."

In Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first full season as United manager, the club will be aiming to improve on last term's sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, when they ended up 32 points behind champions and local rivals ManchesterCity.

Mata agreed a contract extension at United last month, and fellow Spaniard, goalkeeper David de Gea, is also closing in on a new long-term deal, according to reports in the British media.

"David is the best or one of the best goalkeepers in the world, for sure," Mata said.

"He is one of my best friends, so I want him to stay. On a professional level, it will be great for us if he stays because he will give us many points over the next seasons."

De Gea, reported to be on the verge of agreeing a six-year contract extension, has said he would welcome being captain of the Premier League club.

De Gea, 28, has long been linked with a move away from Old Trafford but said he wanted to help the team return to the summit of English soccer at a supporters' event in Singapore.

United's previous captain Antonio Valencia left at the end of last season and De Gea is one of several players in the frame to replace him along with Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba.

"I've been captain for some games. Of course it is amazing to be captain of a club like Manchester United and defend this badge," De Gea said.

"It's amazing, so of course I'll be really, really happy to captain.

"It's my ninth season, I feel like one of the most experienced players. We have to improve a lot.

"We are Manchester United, we need to fight for trophies. When you put on this badge, that's what it means — fight for everything, give your best and bring the team again to the top."

United, who have not lost a match on their pre-season tour so far, beating Perth Glory, Leeds United and Inter Milan, take on Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai on Thursday.

United open their 2019-20 league campaign against Chelsea on August 11.

Butt named United's head of first team development

Manchester United have promoted Nicky Butt to the new position of head of first team development, reporting directly to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club announced on Monday.

The ex-England midfielder, who played 387 games for United, has moved up from Head of Academy to help "create a seamless journey for young players stepping up to the next level".

"I am passionate about nurturing, developing and coaching the talent we have here to become top players at this club," the 44-year-old Butt told the club's website.

United, who finished a disappointing sixth in the Premier League last season, have promoted Nick Cox to Head of Academy.

Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward added: "These changes will further enhance the excellent work and results we have seen over many decades in our Academy system and enable us to continue our proud traditions of producing world-class players capable of playing and excelling in the first team." 

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