Barcelona may not be able to afford Paul Pogba deal in January
There are serious doubts whether Barcelona could afford the £100 million-plus fee that would be required to sign Paul Pogba, the Manchester United midfielder who wants to leave, even if such a move was sanctioned in January.
The fallout from Pogba's training-ground confrontation with Jose Mourinho will be addressed by the United manager at his press conference today.
Pogba had asked Ed Woodward, the club's executive vice-chairman, to be allowed to leave before he captained United in the first game of the season against Leicester City.
United have so far said that Pogba, a club record £89 million signing who agreed a five-year contract in 2016, will not be sold at any price, although the market for those who could afford him is close to non-existent.
The likelihood of Barcelona being able to pay the one-off fee that it would cost to sign Pogba is remote. The only hope they would have of signing him on the basis of their most recent financial results would be if United were prepared to spread the cost of the player over the course of his contract - effectively a finance package for one of their chief European competitors.
When Barcelona sold Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian's £198 million buy-out clause was paid up front and United would be within their rights to ask for the same deal for Pogba.
Barcelona are likely to release their financial results for 2017-'18 next month although they did disclose key figures in July.
Without the sale of Neymar in the summer of last year, the Catalan club would have made an operating loss of around €100m.