Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shakes hands with Paul Pogba after a match. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates

LONDON – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to build his team around midfielder Paul Pogba despite media speculation linking the French World Cup winner with a move away from Old Trafford ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

Pogba's agent recently told The Times that the 26-year-old intends to leave the club, while the player said in Tokyo last month he could seek a new challenge elsewhere amid reports linking him to Juventus and Real Madrid

“Paul is a fantastic player, a fantastic human being and has always been a great professional,” Solskjaer told reporters in Perth.

“I said (previously), 'if he's in your squad, you'd build your team around him'... I haven't changed that much since then, so I'd say the same now.”

Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-world record fee of 89.3 million pounds ($110.83 million), has blown hot and cold in his second stint at the club despite scoring 31 goals in 142 appearances.

If Pogba is in your squad, you'd build your team around him, said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates
If Pogba is in your squad, you'd build your team around him, said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates

“We know Paul has been criticised by a few but he's loved by loads more,” Solskjaer added.

“The ones that might want to leave (the club) now haven't been here when it's been successful. Hopefully they want to be part of that. I want to be part of it.”

United, who finished sixth last season, kick off their new league campaign against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Aug. 11.

Reuters