With the midfielder’s agent claiming his client wants to leave Manchester United, it remains to be seen if any team could actually buy him
Five days after Mino Raiola 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 teammates and the fans,” Pogba wrote on his Instagram. “The future is far away, today matters and I participate 1000%!”
Pogba’s choice of words here is key.
Of course, “today” he is dedicated to the club. The French midfielder remains 18 months away from his contract at Old Trafford and receives a lucrative salary to perform, when elected, for the side of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But unlike Marcus Rashford, who last week handed over his career to United, there were no such promises from the World Cup winner.
Pogba wants to move on and has hidden nothing about the fact.
Although he did not tell Raiola to give that now infamous interview to Tuttosport, nor was he aware that it would be published the day before Tuesday’s decisive clash with RB Leipzig, that doesn’t mean he didn’t agree with his agent’s feelings.
It is understood that formal talks have not begun on a new contract for Pogba, meaning United have three transfer windows to secure a fee for the 27-year-old or risk losing him with a free transfer in June 2022.
But, in a world that has seen economies around the world crippled by the effects of the pandemic, who could pay for the money the Red Devils would probably demand?
United valued Pogba at more than £ 150 million ($ 190 million) in the summer of 2019, and although there is realism in the club that both the pandemic and the player’s contract situation mean receiving such a huge sum in the following year more or less be almost impossible, they are also not ready to let him go for less than market value.
It is also understood that the club is in doubt as to whether any potential suitors have the funds to sanction a move, and they are right to do so.
Realistically there are only a few clubs that could even consider a move for Pogba. They are the European superpowers of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
The favorites at the moment are Pogba’s former club, Juventus, who would certainly be interested in bringing him back to Turin. But by paying the required price of the United Nations, which is likely to prove a fallout, the Serie A champions are looking to create.
Celo found out that the Bianconeri might be able to explore the idea of a loan move in the next January transfer window, but even then they should find a way to pay Pogba’s salaries at £ 290,000 a week.
An exchange deal was also discussed, but United would not want to distract such an offer unless the player they received was a long-term target.
Paulo Dybala was presented as a possible option for such an agreement, and the Red Devils have shown interest in the Argentine international in the past.
Solskjaer, however, is working with executive vice president Ed Woodward and the United Board on his rebuilding, and there is no desire to accept an agreement for a player the club does not want, even if it allows them to unload Pogba.
If a return to Juventus will be off the table, then Real Madrid would seem the next most likely option.
Pogba has openly talked about his desire to move to Santiago Bernabéu and play under Zinedine Zidane, but the financial implications make any transfer, whether in January or next summer, unlikely.
Although a move for Pogba at the end of the season was not completely ruled out due to Zidane’s admiration for his compatriot, it is understood that Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga has now skipped his French team-mate on Madrid’s country list.
Then there are PSG and Barcelona. The Parisians are focused on extending contracts for Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, and due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, it is thought that a lucrative deal for yet another star player is difficult.
The same can be said of Barcelona, although the finances of the Spanish giants are in an even more terrible state compared to their continental rivals, and as such they have no financial means to be able to pay either Pogba’s transfer fee or his salaries. .
So for now, at least soon, Pogba will have to speak on the pitch at Old Trafford and prove that he is in fact “1000% involved”.
Perhaps if his form improves, another club might be tempted to open the checkbook in the not too distant future.