Five days after Mino Raiola haddeclared that Paul Pogba’stime at Manchester United was “over”, the player himselfbroke his silence on Saturday evening.
Pogba’s choiceof words here is key.
Of course, “today”he is committed to the club. The France midfielder has 18 months left on his contract at Old Trafford and is being paid a lucrative wage to perform, when selected, for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
But unlike Marcus Rashford, who last week committed his career to United, there were no such promises from the World Cup-winner.
Pogba wants to move on and has made no secret about the fact.
Though he did not tell Raiola to give that now infamous interview to Tuttosport , nor was he aware thatit was going to be published the day before Tuesday’s crucial clash with RBLeipzig,that does not mean he did not agree with the sentiments put forth by his agent.
It is understood formal talks have not begun over a new contract for Pogba, which means Unitedhave three transfer windows to secure a fee for the 27-year-old or risk losing him on a free transfer in June 2022.
But,in a world that has seen economies around the globecrippled by the effects of the pandemic, who could afford to pay the money the Red Devilswould likely demand?
United valued Pogba at over £150 million ($190m) in the summer of 2019,and while there is a realism within the club that both the pandemic and the player’s contract situation mean that receiving such a huge sum in the next year or so would be almost impossible, they are also not prepared to let him leave for below market value.
It is also understood that the club have doubts over whether any potential suitors have the funds to sanction a move, and they are right to do so.
Realistically, there are only a handful of clubs who could even contemplate making a move for Pogba. They are the European superpowers ofReal Madrid,Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
The favourites at the moment are Pogba’s former club, Juventus, who would certainlybe interested in bringing Pogba back to Turin. But with paying United’s asking price likely to prove a stumbling block, the Serie A champions are looking to get creative.
Goal has learned that the Bianconericould possibly explore the idea of a loan move in the upcoming January transfer window,but even then they would have to find a way to pay Pogba’s£290,000-a-week wages.
A swap deal has also been mooted, but United would not be willing to entertain any such offer unless theplayer they would receivewas a long-term target.
Paulo Dybala has been put forward as a potential option for such a deal, and the Red Devils have shown an interest in the Argentina international in the past.
Solskjaer, however, is working with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the United board on his rebuild, and there is no desire to accept a deal for a player the club do notwant, even if it allows them to offload Pogba.
If a return to Juventus is off the table, then Real Madrid would seem the next most likely option.
Pogba has openly spoken about his desire to move to Santiago Bernabeu and play under Zinedine Zidane, but the financial implications make any transfer, either in January orthis summer, unlikely.
Though a move for Pogba at the end of the season has not been totally ruled out due to Zidane’s admiration for his compatriot, it is understood that Rennes teenegaer Eduardo Camavinga has now leapfrogged his France team-mate on Madrid’s midfield shortlist.
Then there isPSG and Barcelona. The Parisians are focusing on extending contracts for Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, and due to the economic ramifications of the pandemic a lucrativedeal for yet another starplayer is thought to be difficult.
The same can be said for Barcelona, though the Spanish giants’ finances are in an even more dire state when compared to their continental rivals,and as such they have no funds at the moment to be able to afford either Pogba’s transfer fee or his wages.
Sofor now, at least in the short-term,Pogba will have to do his talking on the pitch at Old Trafford and prove that he is in fact “1000% involved”.
Source : goal.com