Manchester City have opened talks to sign the Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba as they try and push through a deal for the much-coveted midfielder.
City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, met Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola when the extraordinary details of what they will have to do to land the transfer were laid out.
Juventus are still refusing to budge on their valuation of €100 million (£70.9 million) for Pogba with the player understood to be asking for a salary of €12 million a year after tax (£8.5 million, equivalent to £163,500 a week). On top of that the agent’s fees are expected to be around €10 million in commission.
City are highly unlikely to meet those demands even though they are very keen to sign the 22-year-old who is also wanted by Real Madrid and Barcelona. Barcelona are currently under a transfer ban but want to do deals for next January while there is also the backdrop of presidential elections at the club.
Manchester United wanted to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford but have been told that he does not want to rejoin the club he left in 2012, as a free agent when his contract ran down, after growing frustrated at a lack of opportunities. Chelsea considered a move for Pogba last year, before they signed Cesc Fabregas, but are extremely unlikely to be interested in the French international and certainly not at the prices now being quoted.
Indeed the demands are considered over-the-top by all the interested clubs with a more realistic valuation for Pogba understood to be €80 million.
His salary demands – and the fee being demanded by his agent – may also have to be lowered if he is to earn a move but given the interest in him there could be a bidding war. Meetings between Begiristain and Raiola are not unusual, given Raiola’s importance as an agent, but it is understood that their last meeting was to specially discuss Pogba.
Although City want to be at the heart of deciding Pogba’s future the club are not thought to be anywhere near close to agreeing a deal. The expected easing of the Financial Fair Play restrictions by Uefa will help them. It is believed that both Pogba and Juventus would like his future sorted out by the middle of July.
City, meanwhile, are still weighing up when to submit a third bid for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling which is expected to come close to the Merseyside club’s £50 million asking price.
Manchester City also remain strongly interested in the Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph, who would appear to be an alternative target to Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. The England international has a release clause in the new contract he signed with Villa in January but it is understood that claims that it is as low as £10 million are wide of the mark. The figure is believed to be significantly higher.