“Rio, I don’t think the club have to respond to that.”
Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand disagreed live on BT Sport when discussing the Paul Pogba situation at Manchester United.
On Monday afternoon, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola declared that his client’s time at Old Trafford is “over” and the player wants to move on. While many Man United supporters won’t shed any tears if and when Pogba leaves, Raiola’s timing has been viewed as disruptive.
The high-profile agent made the comments on the eve of United’s crucial Champions League game against RB Leipzig, a match the Red Devils subsequently lost 3-2.
Scholes and Ferdinand debate about Pogba.
Ahead of that match on BT Sport, Man United legends Scholes and Ferdinand debated who was at fault in the Pogba/Raiola saga.
Ferdinand was critical of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager, and Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, for not responding when Raiola publically criticises the club.
Scholes, however, disagreed. The former Man United midfielder claimed Raiola’s comments would have had no impact on the team’s preparations, and that the club were right not to respond. Owen Hargreaves also had his say.
You can read the full transcript below, or watch the video here.
Rio Ferdinand: “I think the timing is disgusting from a player’s agent, an important player at the club’s agent.
“But I’m going to shift the focus more to Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ed Woodward probably as well. How are you allowing an agent to come in and talk like this? This isn’t the first time.
“You nip it in the bud the first time does it. Now, this isn’t the first time Mino Raiola has spoken like this about a player with a negative focus on Manchester United. You nip that in the bud the first time he does it.
“I was at United when Wayne Rooney was talking about a contract. We were all there, he was talking about leaving Manchester United.
“Sir Alex Ferguson went into the media straight away and said, ‘listen, he’s being advised badly by his agent and this will not happen again, I’m going to nip it in the bud’.
“A couple of days later, Wayne Rooney signs a new contract. If you don’t nip these things in the bud…
“Van de Beek comes in, doesn’t play, after the first month his agent is out there speaking in the media. How is this happening?”
Paul Scholes: “Rio, I don’t think the club have to respond to that.”
Ferdinand: “Why not? So every player that comes into the club, the agent are going to be sitting there chatting.”
Scholes: “Why give the agents the time of day? Paul Pogba is the problem. Paul pays this man to represent him.”
Ferdinand: “I agree with you.”
Scholes: “Now he represents him badly because Paul is a good lad. Everybody looking from the outside, because of his agent, they’ll think he’s a bad lad, they’ll think he’s trouble in the dressing room. He isn’t. There are two options I think Paul has – he either tells him to shut up or he sacks him.”
Ferdinand: “I agree with that, but what I’m saying to you, Man Utd should be taking it out, they shouldn’t be waiting for a player to talk.”
Scholes: “Man Utd have got enough on their plate trying to get the team to where they want to be.”
Ferdinand: “And they’re being destabilised by an agent and they’re allowing it.”
Scholes: “Well they should be destabilised. What destabilises them?”
Ferdinand: “Well why are we talking about now? Before their most important game of the season?”
Scholes: “It destabilises us and fans, I don’t think the team is destabilised. Do you think if you were in the team today you’d be bothered by it?”
Ferdinand: “So when we were in the team and Wayne Rooney is talking about going to Chelsea or Man City, I don’t want that, I don’t need that in the public domain.”
Scholes: “You don’t want it but I don’t think it affects you, does it?”
Ferdinand: “But it’s pressure you don’t need.”
Hargreaves: “You know what the biggest problem with all this is? The only person that’s gained out of this whole transaction is the agent.
“Manchester United haven’t got the Paul Pogba they anticipated, Paul Pogba’s stock isn’t at the level that they paid £90million for.
“Both of them are in a worse off position but Raiola, he’s supposedly got £20m or £30m for this transaction, then on top of that he’s going to be critical and say his player needs to get out of there? That’s impossible. Scholesy’s right…”
Ferdinand: “I agree but if I’m a player, you control the agent. I agree 100% with you, I’d be saying, ‘shut up, what are you talking about, don’t speak on my behalf and make me look bad’.
“But what I’m saying is, take that out of it, if you’re at Manchester United, own that situation. Don’t let yourselves be dictated to and be controlled in that situation. You can’t allow this to happen because every player that comes in, the player’s not playing or the player is disgruntled, his agent is going to be in the paper talking. That’s disrespectful. Don’t have it.”
Hargreaves: “Look, I don’t disagree, but we’re here talking about one of the biggest games for Manchester United in a long time and we’re talking about the agents. I think it’s crazy.”
Scholes: “It affects media and journalism and fans to some capacity, but I don’t think it’ll affect the game tonight.”
Ferdinand: “I agree but it affects the mood at the club. You want the club to have a good outlook, you want the club to be seen in a good light.
“The more Man Utd allow this stuff to happen, the more Man Utd is under a certain amount of a cloud.”
Scholes: “The only way to sort this is to get rid of both of them.”
Hargreaves: “Scholesy, what would you think if you were looking across the dressing room and that agents’ player was sitting next to you before a game of this magnitude? You’d be looking at them a bit funny.”
Scholes: “It probably takes a leader in the dressing room. Probably Harry Maguire should be pulling him to one side saying, ‘look, ring your agent on the way home, tell him to shut up or sack him’.”
Ferdinand: “Wijnaldum, yeah? Important player at Liverpool. Wasn’t playing earlier in the season, he’s got a new contract maybe being negotiated or not.
“You don’t see his agent coming out and speaking as he knows, his agent would get slapped down by Klopp.”
Scholes: “You don’t see anybody’s agent coming out, it’s only this guy.”
Ferdinand: “He’s allowed to!”