There have been plenty of speculative rumblings that Paul Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United, with French tabloids claiming he’s out and French managers talking him up, but nothing firmly concrete had been written or reported on that front. Until now.
The Independent’s Liverpool-based chief writer Miguel Delaney is reporting that Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United and hoping to leave this summer, looking to maximize the prime of his career winning as many trophies as possible, something he reportedly doesn’t believe possible in the near future at Old Trafford.
At 26 years old, Pogba has already won four league titles at Juventus, reached a Champions League final with the Italian club, and came out victorious at the 2018 World Cup with France. Still, Manchester United appears stagnant at the moment, unable to recapture the incredible dominance achieved under Sir Alex Ferguson. There has been a revolving door of late, with Ed Woodward hoping to find the right mix of players to bring the club back to the top of the Premier League, so far to no avail.
Delaney reports that Pogba prefers to push through a move to Real Madrid where he would like to be the cornerstone of a rebuild engineered by recently rehired Zinedine Zidane. Madrid won three straight Champions Leagues under Zidane’s watch, but this season they floundered, falling far behind in league play and finding themselves ousted by Ajax in the Champions League quarterfinals. Zidane, having departed in the offseason, is back to rescue the club and is reportedly interested in adding Pogba this summer, according to Delaney.
According to Delaney’s report, it would still require a gargantuan bid of $170 million, but the fact he even has a price is a step towards the door for Pogba, given that Manchester United previously held he was untouchable. The club was so invested to keep the midfielder that they backed the player in a feud with Jose Mourinho, ultimately proving a reason among many to fire the former manager in December.
For Real Madrid to be a player in the Pogba sweepstakes, they would have to find the money, given they are the likely destination for Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard this summer as well, and securing both players would take enormous financial commitments. Still, with just two years left on the Frenchman’s contract, Manchester United could be motivated to sell this summer rather than wait and see his value plummet like Hazard’s approaching the final year of his current deal.
Delaney also reports that a factor in Manchester United’s change of heart is the Pogba’s disappointing marketability, instead seeing his international teammate Kylian Mbappe become the face of that World Cup winning squad.
Pogba is one of the most divisive players in the Premier League and maybe in the world, given the range of opinions not only on his effort level and style of play, but how to go about formulating a tactical plan to get the best out of the midfielder. His strengths and weaknesses are not clear cut, and that makes his use on the pitch a point of constant debate.