Further reports have come out of Italy indicating that Juventus could try to lure Paul Pogba back to the Allianz Stadium, with Manchester United old-boy Cristiano Ronaldo being used as bait in an eye-catching swap deal.
The deal, previously covered here by The Peoples Person, has now been given a Dutch twist. With rumours intensifying, it’s being suggested that the Italians would consider taking United’s underperforming Dutchman, Donny van de Beek, as an alternative makeweight in a deal.
Pogba is yet to commit to a new contract at Old Trafford, despite having been rejuvenated under United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
By all accounts, the midfielder has just enjoyed his best season in a red shirt, playing 42 games and being involved in 15 goals. However, statistics alone don’t paint a full picture of Pogba’s growing influence in a young United side.
The Frenchman has just over a year left on his current deal, meaning United will surely look to cash in should he show a reluctance to extend his stay.
With his fee plummeting, this would appear to be the right time for Juventus to make tentative enquiries about his availability. Pogba enjoyed four stellar seasons with the Old Lady, playing 124 games and averaging a goal or assist almost every other game.
Ronaldo needs no introduction. The Portuguese superstar remains a fans’ favourite for his exploits in the red shirt, having fired United to domestic and European glory during his six years at the club. Despite his advancing years, he’s regarded as a model professional and is still widely-considered to be one of the best players in the world.
With United over-reliant on evergreen Edinson Cavani, Ronaldo’s return could be seen as a good way to ease the Uruguayan’s workload.
Whether there is a genuine appetite for him to return ‘home’ – and what kind of financial package would be needed to attract him – remains clouded in uncertainty.
The reports also suggest that the Italians have a less ambitious backup plan.
Donny Van De Beekat their overtures to Pogba fail, Juventus would also accept United misfit Donny Van De Beek as part of the deal.
Van de Beek has struggled to establish himself since his £35m arrival at Old Trafford. The Dutchman made just four Premier League starts in his first full season, leaving fans scratching their heads about the logic behind his signing.
Despite arriving with a big reputation after his Champions League exploits with Ajax, Van De Beek spent the latter stages of the season looking bereft of confidence.
The chance to make a fresh start wouldn’t be the only reason for him to consider the move. With former teammate Matthijs de Ligt a regular for the Bianconeri, an Ajax old boys’ reunion could also appeal to the United midfielder.
The final word on the latest Anglo-Italian rumours should probably go to the spider at the centre of this intriguing transfer web, Pogba’s outspoken agent Mino Raiola.
The Italian is sure to be out there pulling the strings and he’ll have a major say in whether there is genuine substance to the latest reports, or whether it’s what he would call nothing but, “Blah, Blah, Blah”.