Paul Pogba and Donny Van de Beek the pawns in Spanish game of chess

Paul Pogba and Donny Van de Beek the pawns in Spanish game of chess

The future look of Manchester United’s central midfield will not be determined in Old Trafford, but in the corridors of power of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home of Real Madrid.

Rumours will not die down that Paul Pogba is determined to leave Manchester United and join the Spanish side and that he is top of Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane’s wish list. Meanwhile, rumours will also not die down that Ajax’s Donny Van De Beek wishes to join Los Merengues and that he is top of Madrid president Florentino Perez’s wish list.

The question is who will get his way at the Bernabeu – Perez or Zidane?

If Zizou gets his way and Real sign Pogba, United will, according to several sources, launch a bid to sign Van de Beek. However, if Perez pushes through the Van de Beek purchase, Pogba may decide to settle down at Old Trafford and sign a new Manchester United contract.

The battle between president and coach started in the summer. Van de Beek was close to joining Real before the move was vetoed by Zidane, who persuaded the board to go for Pogba instead. The transfer window ended with neither deal being concluded and Van de Beek committing himself to another season in Amsterdam. Now, as the January window approaches, the staring contest will reconvene with the two hopeful players – and Manchester United – waiting to hear their fate.

According to AS, Spanish journalists have been besieging the Dutchman to such an extent that his club banned English questions and rushed him out of a press conference to protect him. The player has refused to comment on a possible January move to the Bernabeu, but has already turned down an approach from José Mourinho’s Spurs. With his heart set on Los Blancos, he would almost certainly also turn down an approach from United whilst his dream move is still a possibility.

Real now represent Pogba’s only possible escape route from Old Trafford next month, with Juventus’ sporting director Fabio Paratici categorically ruling out a January move for the Frenchman. However, with both The Times and The Sun both suggesting that Olé Gunnar Solskjaer’s patience with Pogba has run out, there might well be a few more moves made on this particular transfer chessboard this winter.

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About The Author

Red Billy has been following transfer stories and voicing opinions on Manchester United since 1968.