Sunday 16 June 2019

Paul Pogba demands £400k-a-week while Manchester City accept Yaya Toure might stay

Juventus' Paul Pogba
Juventus' Paul Pogba

Ian Herbert

Paul Pogba is understood to want £400,000-a-week to bring his talents to the Premier League and has no desire to force a move from Italy.

The coveted French midfielder is settled at Juventus and appears to conform to the trend which British clubs are finding in the transfer market: a reluctance of continental-based players to swap the comparative ease of La Liga or Serie A for the intensely competitive Premier League, where making a mark and scoring goals is much more challenging.

Manchester City dropped out of the pursuit of Pogba last summer when they were being asked to lay out 100m euros (£79.8m) for the player. Though they are still interested in him as a possible replacement for Yaya Toure, the necessary outlay would seem to be colossal.

Pogba’s pay expectations underline the wage inflation accompanying the new £5bn Premier League TV deal. Even the division’s smallest team from a commercial perspective could expect to generate £140m a year, allowing once medium-ranking clubs to buy world elite players while the so called ‘Big Six’ look for new ways to find a competitive advantage. The new Premier League economics have attached even more of a premium to consistent game-changing players like Pogba.

The 23-year-old’s agent Mino Raiola told Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday that the Frenchman was ready to stay at Juventus. "Nothing has changed for Paul compared to a year ago. Juventus and Paul are on the same page here," Raiola said. "If nobody can offer him an adequate project, then he'd be better off staying. We're even ready to renew his contract."

Though Toure’s departure from City has been predicted for over a year, the number of clubs which could come close to matching his £230,000-a-week salary are limited. The Ivorian has some doubts as to whether incoming manager Pep Guardiola, who sold him to City from Barcelona, is enthusiastic about him as a player. But Toure is philosophical about Guardiola’s willingness to sanction his departure from Catalonia and is ready to prove himself again to the Spaniard.

Toure has been linked this week with a reunion with former City manager Roberto Mancini at Internazionale, but since the highest paid player at that club last season was £64,000-a-week Nemanja Vidic, such a move would entail a huge drop in wages for the 32-year-old Toure.

Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk has suggested that City should offer his client a new deal because his current agreement with them ends in June 2017. But City are relaxed about the Toure situation and are familiar enough with Seluk’s public demands, when it comes to the Ivorian, to read nothing into them.

Seluk was the man who, when City’s then technical director knocked on his hotel room door to discuss buying Toure in Rome seven years ago, scoffed. "Manchester City? Why should he leave Barcelona for you?" City met his wage demands and it has subsequently been a prosperous relationship for both club and player.

Independent News Service

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