By Frankie Rudland.
Paris Saint-Germain are expected to formalise their interest in Paul Pogba in the coming days, with Manchester United’s hopes of tying the midfielder to a new contract dwindling.
Despite not yet making an offer to United, reports in France have suggested that PSG have been in contact with Pogba’s representatives to discuss a potential move.
The 28-year-old has now entered the final 12-months of his current deal, meaning Ed Woodward and co could risk losing Pogba on a free transfer next summer if they refuse to sell and fail to strike a deal with the Frenchman in the interim.
PSG have already been hard at work this summer as they ready themselves for an immediate siege on current title holders Lille who stunned Les Parisians last season.
Euros 2020 winner and player of the tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma was the latest arrival at the Parc des Princes. He joined Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Danilo Pereira and Achraf Hakimi on a star-studded list of arrivals that is reminiscent of a Florentino Perez-style Galacticos recruitment drive.
The Spanish central defender has signed a two-year contract that runs until 30 June 2023.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) July 8, 2021
The acquisition of Pogba would prove another statement signing for PSG and could go a long way to regaining their domestic grip and atoning for their European failings of late.
However, Mauricio Pochettino now needs to balance the books if he wants the club to finance a move for Pogba, and former Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera alongside Sergio Rico and Alphonse Areola have been earmarked for the exit door.
Man United may also see value in recuperating a fee for Pogba themselves after their initial summer dealings.
The Red Devils have recently parted company with £73m to secure Jadon Sancho’s services, while Italian journalist and transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano has today confirmed that Raphael Varane will soon be a United player.
OFFICIAL. Agreement in principle between Manchester United and Real Madrid for Raphaël Varane, confirmed. 🔴🇫🇷 #MUFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 27, 2021
While two high-calibre signings, including Pogba’s international teammate Varane, could tempt the Frenchman to stay – a significant offer from PSG may well be gratefully received for a player that has often proved somewhat of a problem child for United’s managers.
Despite his undeniable ability as one of the world’s best midfielders, Pogba found himself as a frequent tenant on the bench during Jose Mourinho’s tenure, sparking rumours that he wanted out of Manchester for pastures new.
Since then, those rumours have failed to die down, despite Mourinho’s departure and Solskjaer’s srrival. Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, controversially stated in December that he was unhappy at the club and needed “a change of scenery”.
And super-agent and all-round feather-ruffler Raiola once again stoked the fire in May, telling Spanish paper AS that: “Pogba has always been interested in one thing, winning the Champions League, titles, that’s his objective. And we’ll see if that’s possible at United or at other big European clubs.”
Although some may take Raiola’s comments as a provocative tactic to negotiate his client a better deal, Pogba’s performances on the pitch seem to align with his agent’s claims.
Despite occasional flashes of brilliance, it has been another largely forgettable domestic season for a player who holds such a weight of expectation, with the Frenchman racking up a total of eight goal contributions in the league.
Pogba has once again been shifted around the midfield as the search continues for his best position in a United shirt, while fellow midfielder Bruno Fernandes has managed to lock down the No. 10 role in his maiden season at the club.
But despite his faltering domestic form, he once again dazzled on the international stage, displaying a mind-boggling passing range and channelled aggression alike – even curling a sumptuous effort past the impressive Sommer that would have been up for goal of the tournament had it not been for Schick’s long-range brilliance.
Despite Les Blues’ early exit at the hands of Switzerland, Pogba’s performances again raised questions as to why he can’t consistently emulate his international form in the Premier League.
If the answer to that question is indeed the fact that Pogba’s head has been elsewhere for as long as his agent has claimed, then for the sake of both club and player now seems a fitting time to call an end to their tumultuous relationship. Paris beckons.