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Pogba's return delayed because of illness, says Solskjaer

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The likelihood of Paul Pogba resuming his Manchester United career this year diminished further after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said illness had delayed the midfielder’s return to training.

In comments made on Sunday but published only on Tuesday, Solskjaer said Pogba had been off for three days after being “struck down ill” and it had “probably set him back quite a bit.” Videos were posted on social media on Monday of Pogba dancing at his brother Florentin's wedding outside Paris, which took place on Friday.

Pogba has played just six games for United this season - and not since September because of an ankle injury - fueling speculation about his future at the club. In the offseason, Pogba said: “I think for me it can be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere.”

Solskjaer has maintained in recent weeks that Pogba would be back in the team by the end of the year, but he has yet to return to full training. It has been reported that Pogba is a target of Real Madrid, and Europe’s winter transfer window opens on Jan 1.

"As I've said so many times, Paul's a top, top player that we want to see playing his best football at Man United," Solskjaer said in his latest remarks about Pogba ahead of the English League Cup quarterfinal against fourth-tier Colchester on Wednesday.

"We just need to get him fit and match fit. It might be half an hour, 45, 60, 90 (minutes), who knows, the first game. We're working hard to get him back but now he's ill.” United has missed Pogba’s creativity and vision, especially in games against teams which sit back and defend in numbers. That was the case against Everton on Sunday, when United drew at Old Trafford 1-1.

“It's games like this, for example, when you're lacking that one creative pass or ideas maybe," Solskjaer said. "He has that quality that not many midfielders in the world have, so to get him back would be great."

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