Friday 17 August 2018

Barcelona prepare to launch ‘Philippe Coutinho-style’ bid to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United

Miguel Delaney

Barcelona are prepared to embark on a ‘Philippe Coutinho style’ campaign to eventually prise Paul Pogba away from Manchester United, if they cannot sign the French World Cup star in this window.

The Spanish champions will continue what is a hardening pursuit of the 25-year-old to try and get him this August, but with Manchester United definitively refusing to sell the player and just a day of the Premier League purchase window left, Barca are looking to the medium term.

They may well employ a similar strategy to securing Coutinho, after he did not go to Camp Nou from Liverpool last summer, but did eventually move in January.

Barcelona have been made well aware of Pogba's issues with manager Jose Mourinho, which have got to the point where he would be open to a move. The problems began earlier this year when the midfielder was dropped for the Champions League match away to Sevilla, with that rumbling on for months, and being opened up again with Mourinho's critical comments just after what should have been the positive of a World Cup win with France.

There is however some suspicion among the United hierarchy that all of this is another strategy from his agent Mino Raiola, who will try and secure a better contract for the player, to match Alexis Sanchez's terms.

Either way, United are steadfast in their refusal to sell Pogba, and he is seen as central to their commercial plans as much as the team.

The club are bracing themselves for what could still be a frustrating transfer window beyond that as it is now seen as "50-50" as to whether they make a new signing, despite Mourinho wanting two.

Tottenham’s stubbornness means United have considered at least two other defensive options, with Atletico Madrid’s Jose Giminez near the top of their list, albeit tough to prise away at this late stage.

Meanwhile Harry Maguire is seen as too high-priced, given Leicester City would want £75m, while the speculation around Yerry Mina primarily comes from Barcelona looking to sell the player.

There is unlikely to be a wide player coming, and the mood around Mourinho regarding transfers has been described as "testy".

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport