On Thursday after a lot of speculation about the future of former Manchester United Academy star Paul Pogba, reports of a deal to bring the Frenchman back to the Old Trafford club started to surface. Now the deal is not yet complete, and may never be complete – but the reports which have been carried by many newspapers and Gianluca Di Marzio, who has become very credible over the last few transfer windows, gave us all a good feeling about the future of the club. Jose Mourinho is clearly interested in bringing Pogba back to the Theatre of Dreams, a club he left fours years ago on a free, which included a compensation payment of £800,000 from Juventus because of the age of the player. Manchester United are reportedly putting together a world record bid for the Euro 2016 finalist which could see the player earn £300,000 per week, should he return to the club. I remain pessimistic of the deal, as, at the end of the day, United have been linked to many top players in the years after Sir Alex Ferguson, and failed to lure them to the club. United had signed Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid two years ago, which did not end well – with United losing money and got Radamel Falcao on loan, which was a complete failure due to the player not finding his blistering form after a severe knee injury, something which continued last season with the player at Chelsea.
One thing that could secure the deal for Paul Pogba is the fact that Manchester United have a winner as their manager – Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coach has managed to make three signings already this summer; a prospect in Eric Bailly, a clinical striker, and winner in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and one of the best players in the Bundesliga in Henrikh Mkhitaryan – all without the lure of UEFA Champions League football. United did not have Champions League football when Di Maria and Falcao signed for the club either, in fact, they had no European competition at all. This season, United will compete in the UEFA Europa League from the group stages, a tournament they participated in last season under Louis van Gaal, but were knocked out by eventual finalists Liverpool, who were beaten by Sevilla. That just shows that both Manchester United and Jose Mourinho have a lure which will attract the best players, something that has also seen the hate from rival teams come back – hopefully with the fear factor also returning. Many Arsenal supporters mocked the club when Ibrahimovic was linked, as to some of them, he is an ageing striker who will not adapt to the Premier League. Arsenal at the time was after Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, a Premier League winner, who eventually rejected the chance to sign for the club who have not won the league for twelve years and seem to exit the Champions League at the round of 16 each season – but they did finish above United for the last three season – big wow!
Chelsea supporters seem to mock United too, probably because they have their former manager, the Special One, and the majority of his coaching staff. United have also signed better players – which helps in restoring the hate among rival clubs – I personally do like that to be honest – hated, adored, never ignored. Paul Pogba, should he return to Old Trafford, will only add to that. I saw one Arsenal supporter today begging the club to pay £50 million for Alvaro Morata so Real Madrid could afford Pogba, which could stop United from securing his signature. Talk about obsessed. Rival clubs supporters, especially Arsenal, seem to talk about United all the time, yet suggest United talk about them when in actual fact United fans mock consistent failure, so I can see why they assume Arsenal was the subject heading. The rivalry is good in football. Manchester United have not experienced the rivalry for a few years now. Under Moyes, every club took a shot at Old Trafford, many being successful. Under Louis van Gaal, things got better in the first season, the second things did not go to plan with boring football, no fight, urgency etc – which made United a target for most fans to mock – even Chelsea fans mocked the club, despite the fact they were battling near the relegation places for much of the season. Getting back to Pogba though, Guillem Balague in an article published by Sky Sports News HQ, stated:
“Pogba has made it very clear, to Real Madrid anyway, that he would like to be a Real Madrid player this summer.
“He has had conversations with Zinedine Zidane and he wants to play for Zidane.
“The problem is Real Madrid feel the kind of money that Manchester United is willing to pay for him is crazy and they cannot match it.”
It is well-known that Pogba sees Real Madrid as a club and league to develop in the future. Manchester United is a club he has spent time playing at, albeit in the Academy and also has various appearances within the first team. Real Madrid, despite being interested in the player, is not going to match the kind of money on offer from Manchester United, with a world record bid on the cards of £100 million or more. This could result in the player remaining at Juventus for the foreseeable future, him deciding to move to United, or Real Madrid match United’s offer and securing the signature of the player. If Pogba stays with Juventus, it would mean, providing his development continued, his eventual fee would rise even more and the player could force through a move to the Santiago Bernabeu at some point in the future. Balague, enlightening us a bit more about the scenario the Frenchman finds himself in, continued by saying:
“[Pogba’s desire to join Real] doesn’t stop his agent, Mino Raiola, from getting other kinds of agreements.
“It has been reported that Manchester United may have a personal agreement with Pogba and I fully believe that is the case, but it wouldn’t be the first time more than one personal agreement had been reached.
“In any case, while we’re unsure as to Raiola’s priorities, Pogba’s is to go to Real Madrid.
“He might not get his wish because Real Madrid has let Mino Raiola know that they are not willing to match the valuation Juventus and him have determined of the player.
“We will have to wait a while to see how this pans out but one thing is certain, both Real Madrid and Manchester United want the player.”
Sky Sports News HQ also reported on Thursday that talks between Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Pogba’s representatives had started within the last 48 hours, with other news sources suggesting this happened weeks ago. Juventus are said to want to keep hold of their star player, but the money on offer and Pogba’s wage of around £300,000 per week could sway the deal in the favour of Manchester United. Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince feels that Pogba would be an ideal fit for his former club, even despite playing at the club before, not being given the chances he craved for and leaving at the expiry of his contract. Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Ince said:
“Sir Alex Ferguson would have been disappointed to have lost him at such a young age.But I think his style of football will suit the Premier League more than the Spanish league.
“I remember when I first went to Inter Milan in Serie A and I was that kind of aggressive player and every time I made a tackle I was getting booked, that was frustrating.
“So Pogba now coming into a league where it is tough, where he can show what he’s all about, I think is a perfect fit for him and for Man United.
“Who he plays alongside, whether it’s [Michael] Carrick, [Morgan] Schneiderlin or [Bastian] Schweinsteiger – I don’t know. But if United can get Pogba then that sends out the signal that we are really going for it this year.”
Pogba, a Euro 2016 finalist with France this summer has the world at his feet. He started his countries campaign in the tournament hosted by them quietly, coming to life over the last few matches, doing well – which helps you see why some of the biggest teams in world football are looking to gain his services this summer. For Pogba, a move to United would be a downgrade in terms of European football, with United not currently in the UEFA Champions League, playing in the UEFA Europa League instead, but with the players that Jose Mourinho has managed to sign this summer so far, plus the likes of Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and David De Gea, to name a few, Pogba could be convinced that United are looking to cement their status at the top of world football once again – which is what they are currently in the process of doing three years after Sir Alex Ferguson retired from management. With Pogba leaving United back in the summer of 2012, he may feel that he has unfinished business at the club, which could tempt him to return to the Theatre of Dreams and showing the Old Trafford faithful just what they have missed out on over the past four years. Pogba is world class, there is no doubt about that. The scary thing is that he will get better and better. Former Arsenal, Barcelona, and France forward Thierry Henry thinks that could be the case with Pogba after being reported by The Mirror as saying:
“Forget about France, I think he can be one of the best midfielders in history.
“He has the quality to do that.
“He needs to make sure he concentrates on what he can do well.”
Sunday marks the final of Euro 2016 with France taking on Portugal in Paris – with France tipped to win the tournament, just like they did when they hosted the FIFA World Cup back in 1998. After that, there will be a scramble for news relating to Pogba and the protracted transfer of the player from Juventus. The Daily Mail reported on Friday that Pogba will ask Juventus to leave the Turin club this summer. Juventus will try to tempt the player by suggesting they could aim to win the UEFA Champions League in the coming season, after making the final against Barcelona just over a year ago and losing, they feel it might be the bit between the teeth to keep the Frenchman at the club – how silly it may sound. Juventus cannot guarantee European success, but they can offer it to the player – something Manchester United cannot unless they suggest they could win that – which may well be the case. The report suggests that United could pay £106 million for Pogba, £21 million above the fee that Juventus said they would reject (£85 million), but the Italian champions will need Pogba to state his desire to leave the club, meaning that he becomes public enemy number one in Turin, rather than the club looking like they were selling him easily, which is the stance many clubs take, Borussia Dortmund seemed to with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
If all fails and United do not manage to get the deal for Pogba over the line, Blaise Matuidi seems to be a reported target for Mourinho instead, which might seem a let down to many who want Pogba to return, but will bring United a competent midfielder, who would make the team a lot better in that area. There is a long way to go yet. Jose Mourinho would like to get any deal for Pogba sorted before the FA Community Shield against Leicester City at Wembley on Sunday 7th August 2016 – which seems good considering both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal let their transfer dealing head into transfer deadline day, which was exciting, but also showed desperation at the same time. Having Mourinho who wants his arriving players sorted before the start of the season, which makes sense will restore faith in the movement of the Old Trafford club, which has stagnated since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013.