Friday 23 March 2018

Juventus put Paul Pogba 'up for sale informally' as United boss Jose Mourinho eyes move

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba

Jack de Menezes

A summer bidding war could be on the cards after Juventus “informally” put Paul Pogba on the transfer market, with Jose Mourinho believed to be targeting the France international in a bid to bring him back to Manchester United and build his squad around the midfielder.

Pogba left United in 2012 after a public falling out with Alex Ferguson, during which the former manager grew increasingly angry with Pogba and his agent, Mino Raiola, over their wage demands given he had not yet broken into the first team.

The 23-year-old has since gone on to win four consecutive Serie A title with Juventus along with two Coppa Italia successes and reached the Champions League final in 2014/15, but his future is continually thrown into question given his talent attracts the attention of the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and United.

After four hugely successful years in Turin though, it appears Juventus may finally be ready to cash in on Pogba – who could command a world record fee that breaks the £86m Real paid Tottenham Hotspur for Gareth Bale in 2013. According to The Times, Juventus have placed Pogba on the transfer market in an effort to attract offers from other leading clubs in Europe, and Mourinho is considering a move for the Frenchman after United missed out on Portuguese talent Renato Sanches.

After hesitating on a move for Sanches – in which former manager Louis van Gaal vetoed an offer for the 18-year-old before he joined Bayern Munich – Mourinho is said to be keen to press on with the club’s transfer business, despite the distraction of the Euro 2016 Championship starting in less than a fortnight.

One possible boost for United is Mourinho is already believed to be in discussion with football agent Raiola, given United have made an offer to free agent striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 34-year-old is out of contract with Paris Saint-Germain and revealed last week that the one offer he has from the Premier League has come from Old Trafford, though he refused to confirm if he would be following Mourinho to the club.

The Sweden international has spoken positively of wanting to work with Mourinho again having played under his tenure at Inter Milan in 2009, but he has also been linked with a move back to Italy and it appears that Mourinho and United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, have work on their hands if they are to persuade Ibrahimovic to join United.

Should talks go well, the club could use negotiations to try and structure a deal with Raiola, before making an official offer to Juventus. Pogba has been heavily linked with Barcelona, but their current financial situation means that one of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez or Neymar would need to be sold in order to fund the move for Pogba which is set to cost in excess of £70m.

Pogba is currently contract to the Serie A champions until 2019 having signed a long-term deal in 2014, and while Raiola has admitted this season that Pogba is open to extending his contract with the club, his current salary of £70,000-a-week could see him move on unless he sees a significant improvement on the deal.

Online Editors

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