Paul Pogba is using his post-season break in the US to mull offers from Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain after his Manchester United exit was confirmed.
United announced this week that Pogba will leave Old Trafford when his contract expires at the end of the month. The France international has been free to negotiate with clubs about his next move since January.
However, the 29-year-old has not yet made a final decision about his next club. Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG have all made attractive offers and Pogba’s final choice will be football-related.
As he nears his 30s, Pogba is aware this could be the last big step in his career and wants to take his time to make sure he’s making the right decision.
Earlier this week it was reported that Juventus were increasingly confident of securing Pogba a three-year deal that would make him one of the highest paid players.
The Italian club are said to have even received verbal assurances that Pogba – who spent four years at Juventus before returning to United in 2016 – would return to Turin this summer.
Juventus felt a change of heart from Pogba was unthinkable but Real Madrid and PSG appear to remain in contention for his signature.
Manchester City also made an impressive offer to sign Pogba from bitter rivals United, with Pep Guardiola hitting the midfielder and the club drafting a lucrative deal to show their desire to sign him.
But while the world champion considered City’s offer, he felt the noise and hate it would bring would not be worth it.
Pogba at Man Utd: Badly managed or a mistake?
It’s summer 2016. Jose Mourinho is the manager of Manchester United and the club just broke the world transfer record. A Frenchman has returned to Old Trafford with unfinished business.
“This is the right club for me to get everything I hope for in the game,” said Paul Pogba after completing his £89m move from Juventus to United.
“He has a chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond,” Mourinho added.
It was a deal that caused a social media frenzy. Pogba’s announcement video emerged from the shadows with a red devil in his hair, followed by a sponsored music clip starring Stormzy. The #POGBACK hype had begun.
It should be the start of something special. A new era for a club still struggling to gain a foothold after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement three years ago.
But Pogba failed to inspire United to earlier glory. The 2017 League Cup and Europa League are the only trophies of his six-year tenure.
What positions does Manchester United aim for?
Melissa Reddy, Sky Sports News senior reporter:
Erik ten Hag’s determination to skip a furlough and step straight in as Manchester United manager tells the story of the scale of work he must endure.
The 52-year-old inherits a squad that is in need of a thorough overhaul after the worst Premier League season in its history.
That almighty task must be accomplished behind-the-scenes amid an organizational restructuring – including recruitment – as United seek a “detoxification of underachievement”.
As a result, it’s a much slimmer list to judge what the club doesn’t need this summer.
Let’s take a look at the roster itself, which features 21 players signed by five different managers with no underlying style or age profile.
Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Lee Grant are leaving on a free transfer.
Dean Henderson, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams are all expected to leave elsewhere for more minutes. Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot could also go.
The club are open to offers for Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, who retains his place in the starting XI – let alone the captain’s armband – is in jeopardy. Marcus Rashford was terribly out of shape and Bruno Fernandes went from a transformative figure to a largely frustrating figure.
United’s attack cannot be backed only by Cristiano Ronaldo while the midfield lacked offensive protection and progression. There is no position that does not need strengthening.
United need an elite anchor, a dynamic central midfielder, a top-class striker, a confident centre-back who is strong in the air and capable of defending large spaces with ease, new full-backs and another attacker to counter Jadon Sancho.
Ten Hag has a clear football ideology, which helps in building a recruitment profile. Sky sports news was told he wanted “more technical, aggressive, quick-thinking players” who had a “deep responsibility, off the ball and working for each other”.
With significant changes to scouting operations and a lack of football negotiations, it will be interesting to see how United handle extensive spending and earnings.
A lack of Champions League participation also puts the club at a disadvantage, but United believe Ten Hag’s continental exploits with Ajax and his ability to improve players will prove attractive enough for their goals.
Another element sold to potential recruits is the opportunity to “write a new history of Manchester United”. Ten Hag will oversee a very different squad and is expected to introduce a culture shift and more discipline in a toxic, divided environment.
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