Manchester City drop out of race to sign Paul Pogba over £71m price tag
Manchester City are ready to abandon their pursuit of Paul Pogba due to the cost of the £100m-plus package to sign the Juventus midfielder.
Pogba, 22, had been identified by manager Manuel Pellegrini and director of football Txiki Begiristain as the long-term successor to Yaya Toure at the heart of City's midfield.
Alongside Liverpool's Raheem Sterling - who will shortly be the subject of a third City bid in an effort to enable him to join the club's pre-season tour of Australia - Pogba was to be one of the key recruits of the summer.
But with Juventus demanding a €100m (£71m) fee for Pogba, senior figures at the Etihad Stadium are now set to end their interest in the former Manchester United youngster due to his demands for a £12m-a-year salary.
Juventus, having seen Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo leave the club since the end of last season, are determined to retain Pogba's services for at least one more season.
And such a move would boost Barcelona's hopes of signing the France international, with the European champions keen to wait until their transfer embargo ends in January before pressing ahead with a deal for Pogba.
City have spent months attempting to secure a deal for Pogba, who left Old Trafford at the end of his contract in July 2012 following a fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson, who refused to sanction a lucrative new deal for the former Le Havre youngster.
But with Pogba holding out for Barcelona, City have so far been unable to convince the player and his advisors that his future lies at the Etihad.
Begiristain could yet re-start moves for Pogba of the player or Juventus lower their financial demands.
But with Pellegrini's squad due to fly to Australia later this week on the first leg of City's summer tour, efforts will now be focused on luring Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg.
City are prepared to pay £50m for the Belgium international, who is due to meet Wolfsburg director of football Klaus Allofs for talks this week.
De Bruyne, who is also a target for Paris Saint Germain, is open to a move to City, who are also ready to press ahead with attempts to complete an £8m deal for Aston Villa's Fabian Delph.
City have been frustrated in their efforts to sign Sterling so far, with two initial offers for the England international rejected. Liverpool are adamant they will not sell for less than £50 million and City are ready to make a new approach in the coming days.