MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Paul Pogba joined Manchester United for a world-record fee. He’ll leave the English club for nothing.
United said Wednesday the France midfielder would be departing Old Trafford at the end of the month when his contract expires. Another midfielder, Jesse Lingard, will also be leaving when his latest contract runs out on June 30, United said.
“We wish him all the best for the next steps on a remarkable journey,” the club said about Pogba in a long statement that detailed all the successes in his career.
Pogba’s second stint at United has been underwhelming, however.
He made his return in 2016, when Jose Mourinho was manager, for a fee of around 105 million euros ($116 million) and to much fanfare amid a series of glitzy videos. He came from Juventus, where he had moved from United in 2012 having joined the English team’s academy at the age of 16.
Pogba made 226 appearances, scoring 39 goals, in six injury-affected years in his second spell at United. During that time, he won the World Cup with France in 2018 but his performances for United never quite matched those for his national team, with United managers unable to find his best role.
He won two trophies — the League Cup and the Europa League — both in his first season back at United.
In his first spell, Pogba played only seven games — all as a substitute — for United before it ended sourly when he allowed his contract to run down and join Juventus.
United got only 800,000 pounds (around $1 million) in compensation for a player who was then just a precocious teenager.
His final game for United proved to be the 4-1 loss at Liverpool in April, when he hobbled off injured early in the first half.
“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,” United said.
“Everyone at the club would like to congratulate Paul on his successful career.”
Pogba has been linked with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
Lingard is departing after spending 21 years at United, having joined their under-9s team in 2001.
The England international made 232 appearances for United. He spent the second half of the 2020-21 season on loan at West Ham.