Just a few days ago, Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta told the Italian press that Paul Pogba has expressed his desire to stay in Turin long-term. Few believe this, of course. Pogba loves playing for Juventus, but should the perfect offer arrive this summer, the likelihood is he’ll be on his way to a club in a higher profile league, such as Manchester City.
City are not alone in admiring the talented 23-year-old, though. Catalan daily SPORT insist today that Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid also want the French midfielder, and City know all about the influence Zidane can have after the Isco fiasco a few years back.
Times have changed, though. Let’s be honest, Real Madrid vs. Manchester City has been a no contest for a long time, but the arrival of the great Pep Guardiola makes City a much bigger attraction than ever before. City recently briefed the English press and one of the most interesting things they shared is that agents of many top European footballers have been offering the services of their clients, wanting to work with Guardiola.
So, City do not only have huge financial clout and their position as one of England’s top clubs, but now the appeal of Pep Guardiola. That said, there is a very real threat of us not even making the Champions League, which would make the likes of Pogba that much harder to sign. Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror, who recently appeared on our podcast and is very reputable when it comes to Manchester City stories, said this weekend that City have already reopened talks to sign Pogba, so perhaps the idea is to try and get the deal done while the possibility of Europa League football is just that.
SPORT say Pogba would love to work with Pep Guardiola, which we knew anyway, but also that Pep has communicated to Khaldoon Al Mubarak that he sees Pogba as the cornerstone for his City project. This should raise a little suspicion about the validity of story, as you’d think it’d be Txiki Begiristain that Pep would relay his needs to, rather than Khaldoon. But it’s Pogba, so let’s pretend this is all true.
SPORT go on to say that City are willing to pay as much as €90 million (£75 million) for Pogba, which is a huge figure but seems reasonable in today’s market, given that you’re buying a marketable brand, not just a young player with years of greatness ahead of him. Canal+ recently reported that Pogba has bought his own image rights, a complication that made it difficult for him to leave Juventus last summer. That would be another obstacle overcome if City are pursuing a deal and save them a lot of headache.
Like City, the report states that Real Madrid would want a deal done before Euro 2016 kicks off, because an impressive performance in that competition might inflate his price even more. This is consistent with what Mullock wrote in the Sunday Mirror, that Guardiola wants his signings done by no later than June 10.
City have been linked with some of Europe’s crème de la crème recently, the majority of them midfielders. Gündoğan, Kroos, and Koke are just some of the names rumoured to be on their way. But none would be bigger than Paul Pogba, one of world football’s brightest young talents. As SPORT say, don’t rule out Real Madrid, they have a way of getting what they want. But we have Pep Guardiola and Pogba sounds giddy at the prospect of playing for him.