Saturday 17 March 2018

Paul Pogba's friends have their say on the possibility of a deadline day transfer to Chelsea

Juventus' Paul Pogba
Juventus' Paul Pogba

It’s the deal that would win the transfer window. A move that would blow Manchester City’s £55m capture of Kevin de Bruyne out of the water; a signing of such sheer grandiosity that it would immediately restore the feel-good factor to Stamford Bridge, after a slow start to the season which has seen Chelsea pick up only four points from their first four Premier League games.

It’s Paul Pogba to Chelsea, of course, and over the past 24 hours the Italian media have responded to the potential transfer in a number of interesting ways.

First, it is worth noting that respected newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport do make clear, in their Sunday supplement, their conviction that Chelsea will press ahead with one final attempt to sign the 22 year old French midfielder. However, they also claim that Juventus would only allow Pogba to leave if a truly irresistible Chelsea bid was lodged. That is because the club have already lost Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman this window.

The newspaper have also, as followed up on by the publication Sports Witness, spoken to a number of Pogba’s friends on the issue of a move to London, and they claim that he has been advised by them not to leave the Italian club.

These friends also make clear Pogba’s sense of devotion to Juventus, a club that remodelled him into an international superstar after his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, where Sir Alex Ferguson went on the record to criticise what he perceived to be the aloof attitude of a young Pogba. The fact that Juventus have this season rewarded him with the number 10 shirt, at his request, is also suggested as a factor in his hesitance to leave.

Nevertheless, it would be surprising if Chelsea decided against making another bid for Pogba, especially after such a dispiriting weekend defeat to Crystal Palace. Roman Abramovich has proved in the past that he is willing to part with large sums of money at very short notice, but it would appear the fee Juventus would demand for Pogba would be an unprecedented one.

It would appear Chelsea’s chances of landing Paul Pogba are far greater than their immediate chances of landing John Stones, as Everton manager Roberto Martinez again stuck the knife into Chelsea for failing to land “the next England captain”.

“The transfer request was something that (John) did not actually mean to do,” Martinez said, following his side’s gutsy 0-0 draw with a stuttering Tottenham Hotspur, at White Hart Lane.

“No, we never spoke about that. Actually with John it has been very easy, as he is a pristine professional. Obviously he has been under massive, massive pressure, but on Saturday you saw a 21 year old dealing with that pressure, and playing in such a (good) manner. For me, it shows he has potential to be the next England captain.”

But despite Martinez’s growing bullishness, and with the increasingly slim chances of Chelsea being able to tempt Everton chairman Bill Kenwright with a transfer offer large enough before the window closes, Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson wrote in his Daily Star column that he believes Stones will be a Chelsea player come the end of the window.

“I think it should happen. And I think it still will. Even if Chelsea do miss out on him in this window, they will get him in the next one,” Merson wrote.

 “They are not going anywhere. I like him as a player, and he has massive potential. Chelsea need someone like him, who can bring the ball out and dominate a game.

“But they’re buying him for the future, not for any fixtures they might have in September or October. That’s why I think they’ll wait if they have to.”

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport