Thursday 22 February 2018

Why Juventus don't need to sell Paul Pogba to Man United, despite spending big on Gonzalo Higuain

Paul Pogba is a wanted man this summer
Paul Pogba is a wanted man this summer
Juventus may be holding out for more than £100m for Paul Pogba, but he's not in the same league as legends Michel Platini and Liam Brady Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Mark Critchley

Gonzalo Higuain’s £75.3m move from Napoli to Juventus, the third most expensive transfer in history, staggered some and excited others.

The logic is that, having shelled out a monumental sum on 2015/16’s Capocannoniere winner, the Serie A champions’ books will only be balanced if they sell Paul Pogba.

That will be music to the ears of those Manchester United fans who are desperate for the latest line on this summer’s longest-running transfer saga.

The question is, do Juventus really have to sell?

Why Juventus have to sell…

It makes sense financially

In this case, the most convincing argument is the simplest one.

£75.3m is a phenomenal amount of money for most clubs and even at Italy’s most successful, it is not merely a drop in the ocean.

Juventus just spent around 30 per cent of their annual turnover on Higuain. One way or another, it would make sense to get that money back.

It’s an excellent deal

Juventus have perhaps set the standard for transfer dealings among European football’s elite for several seasons now.

Andrea Bazargli, Sami Khedira, Patrice Evra, Andrea Pirlo, Alvaro Morata and Pogba himself have all moved to Turin in cut-price deals over the last few years and enjoyed success.

The opportunity to make a profit of more than £99m on the France international is not to be sniffed at.

It could allow for more excellent deals

Comparisons have been made between Zinedine Zidane’s departure to Real Madrid in 2001; the first (and so far only) time that Juventus received a world record transfer fee.

With the Zidane money, Juventus bought Pavel Nedved, Lilian Thuram and Gianluigi Buffon, who has stood between i Bianconeri’s posts to this day.

Those acquisitions were the foundation of Juventus’ team for the following seasons, and the windfall from Pogba’s sale could allow for similarly astute signings.

Why Juventus don’t have to sell…

There are other fringe players who can leave

Simone Zaza, of stuttering penalty run-up fame, is just one of several fringe players that Juventus could allow to leave in an effort to recoup the money spent on Higuain.

Roberto Pereyra has been linked with Watford, Stefano Sturaro with Southampton, while Hernanes could be in line for a move to Benfica.

The sale of all four would return a chunk of Higuain’s fee and give more reason to keep Pogba at the club.

Pogba is settled at Juventus

For a player in the middle of a long-running, acrimonious transfer saga, Pogba has been notably sang-froid about the whole situation.

There have been no transfer requests, no come-and-get-me pleas and the only significant comments from his camp have come from his agent, Mino Raiola.

That may be because, as suggested by Mina Rzouki on BBC Radio Five Live on Tuesday, Pogba is not desperate to leave Juventus.

Although open to United’s advances, he loves his current club and may struggle to find another which is as patient with his remarkable yet raw talent.

The club have a lot of ambition

At one point, it seemed as though the Calciopoli scandal and the relative weakness of Serie A would banish Juventus from European football’s top table forever.

The Turin club have, however, finally made their way back to elite level, having outperformed almost every English club of a similar stature in recent editions of the Champions League.

They want to do better, they want to go further. Holding firm and keeping Pogba would be a major statement of intent

Independent News Service

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