The likelihood of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba moving to Real Madrid has decreased significantly in recent weeks as the Spanish club are said to have cooled their interest in the player.
According to Spanish outlet AS, the emergence of Federico Valverde in the heart of Real’s midfield has left Head Coach Zinedine Zidane doubting whether a move for Pogba would be wise at this stage.
The 21-year-old Uruguayan’s performances this season have transformed Real’s fortunes and helped them to the top of La Liga, where they enjoy a 3-point lead over rivals Barcelona.
Valverde made his first start for Los Merengues in the 2-0 victory over Osasuna in September. Since then, he has started all but two games and has become a talisman for the turnaround in the team’s fortunes. “With Valverde – 26 goals for and 3 against; without Valverde – 13 goals for and 14 against” tweeted Tiempo de Juego this week.
The Uruguayan – known as El Pajarito or Little Bird, is a creative player who plays on the left side of central midfield and thus a direct competitor for a role that Pogba would have been expected to fulfill at the Bernabeu. “[His is] a rise that has left the Pogba soap opera forgotten and that justifies the bet that the club made in summer to extend his contract two years (until 2025) and insert a clause of 750 million euros, the same as other heavyweights in the white shirt” writes Mario de la Riva in AS.
With United reportedly looking for around £150 million for Pogba, the Uruguayan’s form and Real’s position at the top of the table means it is highly unlikely that a deal will be done in January or even at the end of the season, leaving Juventus as the only potential suitors for the enigmatic Frenchman. Good news for Manchester United fans.