One of the pre-summer transfer rumours that won’t go away is that of Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.
The Manchester United midfielder has rediscovered his form since Ole Gunnar Soskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as manager, but the Frenchman is still reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford this summer, with Real Madrid his dream destination. The link has only been strengthened by comments made by Real manager Zinedine Zidane, who has admitted to being a fan of his compatriot and claiming Pogba could play in Madrid once he leaves Manchester.
The 26-year old became the world’s most expensive player three years ago following his £89 million move from Juventus to Manchester United, returning to Old Trafford four years after leaving to move to Turin. The midfielder came through the youth ranks at United but never managed to establish himself in the first team, making only seven appearances before moving to Italy at the end of his contract. Having left England as a talented but unspectacular player, Pogba returned as one of the best midfielders in world football.
A deal to sign a player of Pogba’s standing isn’t a simple one to make. Manchester United are under no pressure to sell any of their players. For a club the size of United and Real, the only way a player will leave is either because the club want him to leave or the player himself wants to – something which seperates the biggest clubs in the league and the rest.
The size of Manchester United is highlighted by the fact Chevrolet pay a rumoured £65 million a year to be United’s shirt sponsor, while Championship leaders Norwich City sponsors LeoVegas pay a reported £4 million a year. While Norwich will most likely be playing in the same league as United next season, where the two clubs look for players in completely different. Pogba, meanwhile, will need to decide where he wants to play next season.
While United won’t be keen on selling a player who is starting to reach the levels he was at when they signed him from Juventus, that decision may become easier if Pogba makes it clear he wants to leave. Real would certainly have to throw a lot of money at United to convince them to sell, but Zidane is expected to be given a large war chest with which to assemble a squad capable of achieving success next season. Pogba is just the sort of name that would prove to the Real Madrid fan base that the club are determined to be competitive next year.
The loss of Pogba would be a blow to United but it may not be one that they can’t recover from. Solksjaer is reportedly going to be allowed to strengthen his squad in the summer and the funds the club would receive for Pogba certainly wouldn’t hurt the Norweigian’s spending power. That said, for a club looking to re-establish itself as the dominant force in English football, selling Pogba to Real wouldn’t send the best message to United supporters sick of watching their rivals have all the fun. As ever in the modern game, much depends on what the player himself wants to do, and we’ll find out soon enough.