Paul Pogba wants to leave Old Trafford - but Manchester United to demand staggering fee
Paul Pogba is ready to push for a summer transfer to Real Madrid, but his hopes of a move are likely to hinge on Manchester United dramatically lowering their £160 million (€187m) valuation.
Ten months after telling United he wanted to quit for Barcelona, the midfielder has set his heart on a move to Real and that desire has only been strengthened by the Old Trafford club's failure to qualify for the Champions League.
With United finishing outside the top four for the fourth time in six seasons, Pogba will miss out on a £1.875m (€2.2m) Champions League qualification bonus, although it is understood that would be partly offset by a rise in his basic salary.
United have insisted publicly that Pogba will not be sold but, aware that their record £89m signing is unsettled, they must decide if it is worth keeping an unhappy player against his will.
United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward refused to sell Pogba last August when the midfielder told him he wanted to join Barcelona. Real seem to be banking on Pogba agitating for a move in the hope of driving down his asking price.
It is believed United might be willing to listen to offers of about £160m for the French star but there's little evidence to suggest the Madrid giants could afford such an outlay at a time when they are also targeting Chelsea's Eden Hazard and their planned summer revamp appears contingent on offloading players.
With their intermediate accounts relating to the first half of the 2018-19 season revealing there was no cash in the club during last summer's or this January's transfer windows, Real are likely to need to sell players such as James Rodriguez, Mateo Kovacic, Isco and Gareth Bale to generate funds.
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Mino Raiola, Pogba's agent, has held talks with Real and it is possible he will tell Woodward that the Spanish club are prepared to offer about £100m, a slight increase on the fee United paid Juventus in 2016.
Yet that is way below United's valuation. The 26-year-old has two years to run on his contract but United have an option to extend that by another 12 months to June 2022.
Juventus and Paris St-Germain have been linked with Pogba, but he wants to play under Zinedine Zidane, his French compatriot and idol, at Real.
© The Daily Telegraph, London