Manchester United target Paul Pogba will remain at Juventus this summer in a bid to win the UEFA Champions League with his club, according to Massimiliano Allegri. The Italian coach made the claim amidst the speculation linking Pogba with a return to Old Trafford for a world record £100 million fee. Pogba left the Theatre of Dreams in the summer of 2012 on a free, but because of his age at the time, a compensation payment of £800,000 was payable by the Turin side. Pogba has since emerged as one of the best young midfielders in Europe, a midfielder that, should he have stayed at Old Trafford, would have made the first team a short matter of time, if he had not left the club. France, runner’s up in the European Championships this summer, beaten by Portugal in the final in Paris a week ago with Pogba not setting the world alight, as was predicted by the media – he did make his mark in some of the matches through.
Soon after the defeat, Pogba left for Los Angeles where he was interviewed by ESPN and went to an ESPY awards ceremony, then heading to Miami with his friend, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. Pogba would be another good signing by Mourinho if it was the case, but Juventus seem to want to keep hold of the player, and at the end of the day who could blame them. Of course, this could all be a charade with the player leaving the club, and the club showing, at least to the public that they have tried to keep hold of the player. Massimiliano Allegri, the new coach for Juventus spoke to Gazetta dello Sport, reported by The Mirror, in which the Italian said:
“I am calm about the English rumours. Anyone who has the opportunity to leave Juventus has to consider things very carefully, because right now Juve are among the top four European clubs.
“This is not a selling club that just lets its players go. Pogba belongs to Juve and at the end of the day he too will want to win another Scudetto and hopefully the Champions League.
“We have grown in terms of appeal and awareness of our own capabilities. So far our market this summer has been eight out of 10, bringing in players of international pedigree like Medhi Benatia, Dani Alves and Miralem Pjanic.”
Pogba would be another piece to Jose Mourinho’s jigsaw puzzle at United, should his move transpire, and would also make a big statement that not only are United back and signing the best players in the world again, they are also able to take on the financial might of Real Madrid and Barcelona – something which has seemed impossible a few years ago. The Premier League will become the richest league in the world with the television deal giving clubs all that more in revenue, which puts them ahead of the leagues in Spain and Germany, among others. Pogba, speaking to ESPN earlier in the week was asked loads of questions about himself, his past and of course, his future.
When asked about spending three years at Manchester United and what he learned alongside players such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, Pogba said:
“With them you train to the end, up to perfection, because Paul Scholes — despite his age — was still there at the end of practice, hitting long passes, shots. He didn’t miss one. When you’re there, you have to adapt fast. I like that — always challenges.”
At the age of 19, Pogba had to tell then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he was leaving. When asked if it took courage, Pogba said:
“He’s a coach I respect a lot. But he’s a human. I’m someone who says what he thinks. Whether it’s Ferguson or [President Barack] Obama, I’ll tell him. Ferguson came to my place. We talked. It did make me think. He wanted to keep me, but I’d made my decision to leave.”
When asked if he found it difficult to adapt from English to Italian football, Pogba said:
“My first training session here, I lost three kilos. Here they really work physically and tactically. In England it’s more explosive, it doesn’t stop, but tactically it’s not the same as in Italy. And in Italy, training sessions are longer.”
Pogba also spoke about his position as a central midfielder and the fact he wanted to create goals or become the ‘new midfielder’. When asked what the ‘new midfielder’ was with Pogba replying; ‘defend, attack, score, give assists, tackle, win back the ball. Be a leader on the field’, he was asked if a box-to-box midfielder with a bit of Zinedine Zidane added was the type, to which Pogba replied; ‘[laughs] Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Messi, everyone. Iniesta’. When asked if he was serious, Pogba said:
“I’m serious. All players rolled into one: from defensive midfielder to attacking midfielder to attacker. I want to take the qualities from everyone. I’d like to get to the level where I have everything: Vieira, Deschamps, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Henry, Ronaldo. It wouldn’t be bad, that. I’ve already scored goals, given decisive passes, won back balls. It’s really just about raising the level.”
Pogba was also asked how he would want people to remember him in 30 years, he said:
“By watching YouTube, like they do with Maradona and Pele. When I say I want to become a legend, some people say it’s pretentious. For me, it’s a challenge. My desire, a dream. I’m not saying I’ll get there, but it’s what I want.”
In Los Angeles on Wednesday, Pogba was also interviewed in Spanish, where he was shown three football shirts; Juventus, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. The Frenchman was then asked what each one meant to him. Juventus: “That’s my team, my family, it’s where I am playing.” Real Madrid: “They won the Champions League this year. They are a great club.” Manchester United: “It was my first family.” Pogba was also asked how he would react if Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho contacted him this summer, with a response that would encourage it to happen – which could have been the player being playful with the media. He said: “I don’t know. Let’s see, let’s see. For the moment, I am here [Juventus] and I am happy here, but I don’t know where I want to go.” It is clear that there is a way to go yet before anything happens. Mourinho would like to have his major signings done before the start of the season, which would see United dormant on transfer deadline day for the first time in three years, with the club most likely getting rid of the player that they do not need, or sending young players out on loan spells away from the club.