It’s an equation as reliable as the Pythagorean Theorem: Paul Pogba + international duty = transfer gossip fodder.
You could probably substitute “any time away from Manchester United” there but you get the idea.
[ MORE: Top free agents still available ]
“Today, I am still at Manchester United and I am fighting to try to take the club even higher,” Pogba said Thursday when asked about a move to Real Madrid. “We have all heard these things that have been said. What to respond? Yes, all footballers would like to play for Real Madrid. Maybe it is a dream. It is a dream for me, why not one day? As I have said, I am at Manchester United and I like my club.”
Why? There’s no reason for this other than keeping your name in the headlines. “No comment” is an option, especially when Pogba has a superagent in Mino Raiola who has no problem getting a hold of Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane.
Let’s go back in time. The Year is 2016. Paul Pogba is with Juventus and Raiola is hunting a world record transfer fee (which he’d eventually get from United). The related link on the PST article involves Victor Wanyama moving from Saints to Spurs and there’s a note of Christiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez’s fits along with Pogba.
Now Wanyama’s in MLS, Ronaldo’s at Juve, James at Everton, and Pogba in Manchester. But
At some point, you have to marvel that Manchester United hasn’t asked him to turn in his phone.
But there’s been talk from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of a new United contract for Pogba as recently as this summer. Pogba says no such talks have started, so maybe that’s the inspiration for the, “Hey I could go here” nods.
At least the World Cup-winning Pogba has gotten better at praising his club during such interviews.
[ MORE: Premier League Player Power Rankings ]
“I am performing at Manchester United, I am enjoying myself and I want to do everything I can to get the club back to where it deserves to be. I am going to give my maximum, like my teammates. I prefer to concentrate on football and on returning to fitness.”
The quote comes the same day that Real is reported as going after Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, and Eduardo Camavinga this summer (If you haven’t seen the 17-year-old Camavinga’s unreal goal for France on Wednesday, take a look now, we’ll wait).
Real bought no one new this summer, selling more than $100 million in players including Sergio Reguilon, Achraf Hakimi, and Oscar Rodriguez.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano also revealed Thursday that Juventus planned to buy Pogba this summer but was thwarted by coronavirus concerns.
Pogba is a wonderful and game-changing talent. He has his dud games but is also often wrongly criticized, like in United’s 6-1 loss to Spurs where his team was overrun but the Frenchman was stuck into a game-high 23 duels and registered the second-most tackles (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (two).