Paul Pogba has chosen Real Madrid over Juventus or a new contract at Manchester United, according to Spanish outlet AS.
AS claims that Pogba’s entourage has sent a clear message that ‘Pogba will prioritize Madrid’ and says that he is now ‘closer than ever’ to finally clinching his dream transfer to los Blancos.
According to the report, there are three reasons for the change in situation.
In addition to the belief that Pogba ‘would choose an offer from Real Madrid ahead of one from Juventus or any renewal proposal from United’, it is claimed that the timing is perfect as there is one year left on the Frenchman’s contract.
While the Red Devils could trigger a one year extension, AS reports that a source from Pogba’s camp has said it would be a mistake because ‘they would only make the player angry and have him unhappy for another year’.
United only have two choices this summer – to give the 27-year-old a new contract or sell him, the report claims.
The Spanish media also believe that the financial meltdown brought about by the coronavirus crisis will mean that negotiators at Old Trafford will have to drop their asking price for Pogba below £100 million.
‘The estimate is that it will cost considerably less than 100 [million pounds] due to the crisis itself and because, this season, Pogba has only been able to play eight games due to various ankle injuries.’
AS also believes that the Frenchman’s agent Mino Raiola will play ‘a crucial role’ as ‘the only thing he lacks in his successful career’ is to bring a player to the Bernabeu. Raiola has developed a good relationship with Real’s general director Jose Angel Sanchez through their negotiations over goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who is currently on loan at the Bernabeu from PSG.
If true, the news leaves United in a difficult position. If Pogba is unwilling to sign a new deal at Old Trafford and would be ‘angry’ and ‘unhappy’ if his contract was extended, the logical thing to do would be to sell. But to sell him for ‘considerably less than 100’ would be financially disastrous for the club as they would be unlikely to replace him with a player of the same calibre for that sort of amount.
One possible resolution could be a swap deal. Real tried to offer James Rodriguez in part-exchange for Pogba last summer and could try again with a different player. The Red Devils have been linked with the likes of Toni Kroos, Isco, Raphael Varane and Luka Jovic in the past but any deal of that nature would be complicated to pull off.
Another possible end to the drama – albeit unlikely – has been mooted by French outlet L’Equipe (via Sport Witness), who claim that Pogba is so determined to join Real Madrid that he could exercise Article 17 of FIFA’s constitution which would allow him to buy out the remainder of his Manchester United contract, which in theory he would be allowed to do having completed three years.
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