One of the biggest transfer sagas of the summer is revolving around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba – again. The Frenchman only returned to Old Trafford three years ago for a then-world record £89m, but he, and his agent Mino Raiola, have come out and said it could be time for a ‘new challenge’. So, what are the odds on Pogba moving to Juventus this summer, the club he left behind in 2016?
It’s fair to say Pogba’s second stint in Manchester hasn’t worked out exactly to plan. There have been more downs than ups, notably his seismic falling out with former United manager Jose Mourinho, which played a major role in the Portuguese losing his job. The shackles seemed to come off when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived, but Pogba’s form dropped off a cliff towards the end of last season as United slumped to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.
Pogba doesn’t seem to have the stomach for the fight to help United challenge the dominance of Manchester City and Liverpool on the domestic front, while a campaign in the Europa League certainly doesn’t seem to whet the 26-year-old’s appetite. Especially when agent Raiola has the scent of money wafting under his nose.
United outmuscled Real Madrid and Barcelona to re-sign Pogba three summers ago, and now it seems he wants that move to Spain. Compatriot Zinedine Zidane has set his sights on the midfielder, and the Madrid board has so far backed the manager they rehired last season to the hilt. After spending in the region of £330m on the likes of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy though, Los Blancos need to sell before they can afford another huge outlay.
Reports have suggested the Spanish outfit have offered Gareth Bale to United in part-exchange, but the Welshman doesn’t fit the template of the young, hungry player Solskjaer is interested in. The likes of Isco, James Rodriguez and Marco Asensio could be deemed surplus to requirements as the La Liga giants aim to raise the funds they need to secure Pogba’s services. With all that, Madrid are the 6/4 favourites to land Pogba if he leaves United for a second time during this transfer window.
The World Cup winner is 3/5 to remain at Old Trafford, while the only other club that looks like they’re in with a change of landing him is Juventus. The Old Lady’s hand was forced by a massive bid from United three years ago, but now they want him back. Money’s also an issue for the Bianconeri though, as United’s asking price is likely to be in the region of £150-£180m.
After last summer’s huge outlay on Cristiano Ronaldo and the continuing expense of the Portuguese superstar’s vast wage packet, Juve aren’t flush with cash. They’ve spent around £60m on reinforcements so far this summer, while Maurizio Sarri has strengthened his midfield with the free transfers of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. Pogba returning to Turin seems unlikely at this stage, which is why the bookmakers are offering 10/1 on Juve bringing their old No 6 back to the Allianz Stadium.