Report: Barcelona back down on Pogba. Man City, Chelsea to step forward?

Getty Images

Paul Pogba to the Premier League? Yes please… and then some.

According to a report in the Daily Mirror on Monday Juventus’ rangy central midfielder is no longer on the wishlist of reigning European champs Barcelona as they have instead chosen to stay within their “self-imposed financial restrictions” per the report.

[ MORE: 5 things from huge PL weekend

It has long been rumored that Pogba, 22, would be heading to Barca this summer as in the summer of 2015 several reports claimed Juve had agreed to sell the French international to Barca in a structured deal. However the man who was voted the Young Player of the 2014 World Cup, plus was included in the FIFPro World XI, may now have to look elsewhere if he leaves Turin.

What are his options in the Premier League?

Well, one club sticks out like a sore thumb: Manchester City.

With Pep Guardiola arriving at the Etihad Stadium this summer, it’s likely he’ll be given a huge transfer “war chest” to grab himself two or three marquee players of his own. With Yaya Toure coming towards the end of his time at City and Guardiola already selling him at Barcelona back in 2011, it does feel like the central midfield position is one where City need strengthening. With Fernandinho they have a very good holding player but Fernando and Fabian Delph aren’t quite up to the elite standards of challenging for the PL and in Europe.

Having watched Pogba overrun Toure earlier this season when Juve beat City 2-1 in the UCL group stage opener, the French youngster grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and dominated the midfield.

City could afford what is likely to be a huge fee of $120 million, plus his wages of over $375,000 per week. Another PL club who would be able to afford Pogba is Chelsea.

[ MORE: 3 things learned from each title battle ] 

Sure, they’d have to offload a few of the big-name stars but with John Terry on his way out and Eden Hazard suggesting he’d find it difficult to turn down Paris Saint-Germain, plenty of the wage bill could be freed up. That and perhaps the one trump card Chelsea may hold over City: Massimiliano Allegri. Pogba’s current coach at Juve is the bookmakers favorite to take over at Chelsea permanently and if both arrived this summer, Pogba may enjoy the fact that he will continue to play for a coach who has got the best out of him the past two years.

Of course, Real Madrid would be interested if Pogba looked liked leaving and they could certainly afford him but it seems that with his skill-set the PL would suit him best. His agent Mino Raiola is remaining tight-lipped but did say that Pogba hasn’t got his heart set on a move to Barca.

With the new TV money in the PL set to kick in next season, the financial clout of England’s top clubs will be even greater. Why wouldn’t Man City or Chelsea go out and spend big on Pogba? He’s the most complete central midfielder under the age of 23 on the planet. Plus, it would rub further salt into the wounds of Manchester United who let him leave Old Trafford in 2011 for, ahem, nothing…