Paul Pogba is using his post-season break in the US to consider offers from Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain after his departure from Manchester United 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 over his next move since January.
However, the 29-year-old has not made a final decision on his next club. Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG have made attractive offers and Pogba’s final choice will be motivated by football.
As he approaches 30, Pogba is aware that this could be the last big move of his career and wants to take his time to ensure he makes the right decision.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Juventus were becoming increasingly confident of securing Pogba on a three-year deal that would put him among the top earners.
The Italian club were even said to have received verbal assurances that Pogba, who spent four years with Juventus before joining United in 2016, would return to Turin this summer.
Juventus were understood to feel any change of heart from Pogba would be inconceivable, but Real Madrid and PSG appear to remain in the running for his signature.
Manchester City also made a surprising offer to sign Pogba from bitter rivals United, with Pep Guardiola meeting with the midfielder and the club drafting a lucrative contract to show their desire to sign him.
But although the World Cup winner considered City’s offer, he felt the noise and hatred that came with it would not be worth it.
Pogba at Man Utd: Mishandling or a mistake?
It is the summer of 2016. José Mourinho is the manager of Manchester United and the club has just broken the world transfer record. A Frenchman has returned to Old Trafford with unfinished business.
“This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope for in the game,” Paul Pogba said after completing his £89m move back to United from Juventus.
“He has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond,” Mourinho added.
It was an agreement that caused a furor in social networks. Emerging from the shadows with a red devil branded in her hair, Pogba’s announcement video was followed by a sponsored music clip featuring Stormzy. The #POGBACK hype had begun.
It was supposed to be the start of something special. A new era for a club still struggling to recover from Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement three years earlier.
But Pogba has failed to inspire United to past glories. The 2017 League Cup and Europa League are the only trophies from his six seasons.
What positions is Manchester United aiming for?
Melissa Reddy, Senior Reporter for Sky Sports News:
Erik ten Hag’s commitment to deviate from a holiday and immediately be stuck as manager of Manchester United tells the story of the scale of work he has to deal with.
The 52-year-old inherits a squad that requires a significant overhaul, having put up the worst Premier League season in its history.
That almighty task must be done amid an organizational shakeup, including recruiting, behind the scenes as United seek a “detox from underachievement”.
Consequently, it is a much leaner list to assess what the club does not need this summer.
Let’s delve into the team itself, which features 21 players signed by five different managers with no underlying age or stylistic profile.
Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Lee Grant all come out as free signings.
Dean Henderson, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams are expected to leave for more minutes elsewhere. Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot could also go.
The club are open to offers for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Harry Maguire keeping his place in the starting XI, let alone the captain’s armband, is in jeopardy. Marcus Rashford has been terribly out of shape and Bruno Fernandes has gone from a transformative figure to a largely frustrating one.
United’s attack cannot rely solely on Cristiano Ronaldo, while the midfield has lacked protection and offensive progression. There is no position free from the need for strengthening.
United need an elite anchor, a dynamic central midfielder, a high-quality striker, a commanding midfielder and commanding midfielder who is comfortable defending big spaces, new full-backs and another striker as a foil for Jadon Sancho.
Ten Hag has a clear footballing ideology, which is helpful in building a recruitment profile. Sky sports news he has been told he wants “more technical, aggressive, quick-thinking players” who have a “deep responsibility to work off the ball and for each other”.
Given the considerable changes in scouting operations and the lack of football negotiating nous, it will be interesting to see how United handle the big ins and outs.
The absence 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 be attractive enough for their goals.
Another item being sold to prospective recruits is the chance to “write a new Manchester United story”. Ten Hag will oversee a considerably different team and is expected to bring a culture change and greater discipline to what has been a divided and toxic environment.
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