ONE thing is for sure — Manchester United have a decision to make on Paul Pogba this summer.
Stick with him, as boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer launches a new era underpinned by a tough new work ethic?
1 Man Utd have a massive decision to make this summer regarding PogbaCredit: PA:Press Association
Or grab the potential £150million offer from Real Madrid and wave goodbye for a second — and surely final — time?
The date of July 1 is currently ringed in red in the diaries of both United and Real.
It is the day Solskjaer expects Pogba, 26, back at Carrington for pre-season training.
However, it is also the date when Real want to have his move to the Bernabeu sewn up.
Zinedine Zidane’s men do not meet up until a week later — but they want to make sure the French ace gets his rest.
So, D-day is finally approaching for United and Pogba after a turbulent three years.
United have been adamant they will NOT sell their record £89m signing this summer.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward loves him as a player but also the commercial spin-offs he brings with him.
Talk to him about any of the other big names on the United books and there is always a Plan B.
Yet with Pogba, the message is always clear — he is not for sale. Period.
He has two years left on his contract at United, who also have the option of an extra year.
Until the weekend, the club was in complete control of the situation.
However on Sunday the former Juventus man changed the dynamic by going public with his desire to move on.
People have suspected it for over a year now — but this is the first time he has openly admitted it.
The whole world now knows that he does not want to be at Manchester United any more.
Martin Blackburn on Paul Pogba
He had come pretty close before — saying in April it would be a dream to play for Real Madrid and his countryman Zidane.
But the whole world now knows that he does not want to be there any more and that plays into Madrid’s hands.
You wonder what his next move might be, with talk of him handing in a transfer request when — or if — he returns at the start of next month.
Suddenly that talk of £150m being the magic number becomes much more significant.
They say every player has his price — and the word around United seems to be the figure on Pogba’s head.
Close to £60m profit on a player who no longer wants to be there would be a great deal for Woodward and United.
But that is some way to go from Real’s opening offer of £90m.
This is now a huge call for the United board and Solskjaer and one which will be pivotal to the season ahead.
No other player at United sets the mood quite like Pogba.
When he is happy and on song, like he was in those early days under Solskjaer, he can carry the rest of them with him.
Unfortunately he can also drag them down when he does not fancy it and there have been too many of those days in the last couple of years.
The players and backroom team at United know only too well that an unhappy Pogba is not good for the dressing room.
Yet on his day, most fans would have to admit he is United’s best player by quite a distance. Even so, Solskjaer is certain to be dejected by the latest developments.
In January he talked about Pogba being captain material and suggested he would look to build his team around the Frenchman.
The pair worked together during their previous spells at United, when Solskjaer was in charge of the reserves.
It was hoped his return before Christmas would bring out the best in Pogba after he lost his way — and even his place in the team under ex-boss Jose Mourinho.
Last summer he wanted to leave and join Barcelona, but kept his wishes between him and the club.
This time he has chosen to go public in the hope it will bring the outcome he wants.
It is a high-risk strategy and one that could damage his relationship with United fans irreparably.
You get the feeling his situation at Old Trafford is becoming untenable. And this time there would be no way back.