Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has just given Paul Pogba a major hint over ManUnited future
Man United drew 2-2 against Atalanta on Tuesday and Paul Pogba started the game alongside Scott McTominay in midfield
What's the secret to a successful and happy marriage? Most would say love, commitment and trust among other obvious qualities.
Paul Pogba has always loved Manchester United. The Frenchman left home comforts with Le Havre to join United's academy at just 16 and since then his affection for the club has developed, albeit it was made complicated when he left for Juventus in 2012.
Despite the happiness that Pogba would find in Turin with Juventus when clinching four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italias, the midfielder always felt that uncontrollable yearning to return home to Old Trafford — to return to where he loved most.
Such was Pogba's reputation by then though, United would have to pay a world-record transfer fee to turn his dream into a reality.
When Pogba signed for United for £89m five years ago, he revealed his mother had told him that it was his 'destiny' to return. "It was like I'd just come back home. I just went for a holiday," he added, his words suggesting his love for United remained strong.
It once seemed the perfect marriage, however, relationships end for a reason and some believe you should never return to an old flame.
Pogba has delivered glimpses of world-class ability each season since his return to United, but it's clear that he has failed to consistently hit the lofty heights that he regularly reached with Juventus. His performances for France — in which Pogba looks unshackled, elegant and classy on the ball — have always been superior to those that he has produced for United.
The 28-year-old started the season in emphatic fashion for United this term and yet his form has since gradually deteriorated.
Just like all good spouses do, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to show unwavering loyalty to Pogba, likely borne out of the feeling that the United boss knows what's he genuinely capable of.
But he was never going to stick by the player at the expense of his own job.
Solskjaer dropped Pogba to the bench against Atalanta and Liverpool at Old Trafford — he was sent off during the latter match — but he reinstalled the Frenchman to the starting line-up against Atalanta in the reverse fixture away in Italy on Tuesday night.
Alongside Scott McTominay in the 5-3-2 formation, it was an opportunity for Pogba to bounce back. Instead, he suffered lapses in concentration at the Gewiss Stadium, was wasteful in possession and offered little going forward. It was yet another chance gone.
Solskjaer disrupted the Fred and McTominay partnership that had excelled against Tottenham in favour of Pogba.
He failed to grasp that chance in the new system and it was a damning indictment of what Solskjaer thought of his display when he hauled him off.
Although McTominay had already received a yellow card and was on his last warning after another dubious challenge, Solskjaer chose to substitute Pogba off for Nemanja Matic and that spoke louder than any words possibly could have.
Solskjaer ran the risk of leaving McTominay on the field with a yellow card just so that he could remove Pogba from the game.
Pogba's contract expires at the end of the season and his potential exit wouldn't be significant based on his current form because — while there's no denying that United are stronger with an in-form Pogba — in recent weeks he's been poor.
Considering his contract situation, United could be braced for a permanent divorce and Pogba's love affair with the club could end in tears.