With the midfielder’s agent claiming that his client wants to leave Manchester United, it remains to be seen whether any team could actually buy him
Five days after Mino Raiola had declared that Paul Pogba’s time at Manchester United was “over”, the player himself broke his silence on Saturday evening.
“I’ve always fought and will always fight for Manchester United, my team-mates and the fans,” Pogba wrote on his Instagram. “The future is far, today is what matters and I am 1000 per cent involved!”
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 that it was going to be published the day before Tuesday’s crucial clash with RB Leipzig, 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 United have 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 globe crippled by the effects of the pandemic, who could afford to pay the money the Red Devils would 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.
The favourites at the moment are Pogba’s former club, Juventus, who would certainly be 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 Bianconeri could 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 the player they would receive was a long-term target.3
Pogba’s choice of words here is key.