Paul Pogba is using his post-season break in the USA to mull over offers from Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain after his Manchester United exit was confirmed.
United announced this week Pogba will be leaving 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 over his next club. Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG have all made attractive offers and Pogba’s final choice will be football motivated.
As he closes on his 30s, Pogba is aware 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 Juventus were increasingly confident of securing Pogba to a three-year deal that would place him among their highest earners.
The Italian club were even said to have been given verbal assurances that Pogba – who spent four years with Juventus before rejoining 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 stunning bid to sign Pogba from bitter rivals United, with Pep Guardiola meeting the midfielder and the club drafting a lucrative contract to demonstrate their desire to sign him.
But while the World Cup winner did consider City’s offer, he felt the accompanying noise and hate would not be worth it.
Pogba at Man Utd: Mismanaged or a mistake?
It is the summer of 2016. Jose Mourinho is the Manchester United manager and the club has just broken the world transfer record. A Frenchman has returned to Old Trafford for unfinished business.
“This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to 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 a deal that caused a social media frenzy. Emerging from the shadows with a red devil marked into his hair, Pogba’s announcement video was followed by a sponsored music clip featuring Stormzy. The hype about #POGBACK had begun.
It was supposed to be the start of something special. A new era for a club still struggling to find its feet after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years earlier.
But Pogba has been unable to inspire United to former glory. The 2017 League Cup and Europa League are the only trophies of his six-season spell.
Which positions are Manchester United targeting?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
Erik ten Hag’s commitment to swerving a holiday and getting stuck in straight away as manager of Manchester United tells the story of the scale of work he has to wade through.
The 52-year-old inherits a squad, which requires a significant overhaul, having delivered the worst Premier League season in their history.
That almighty task needs to be done amid a restructuring of the organization – including recruitment – behind the scenes as United seek a “detox of underperformance”.
By consequence, it is a much leaner list to assess what the club doesn’t require this summer.
Let’s drill down into the squad itself, which features 21 players signed by five different managers with no underpinning stylistic or age profile.
Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Lee Grant exit as free transfers.
Dean Henderson, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams are expected to depart for more minutes elsewhere. Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot could go too.
The club are open to offers for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Harry Maguire retaining his place in the starting XI – let alone the captain’s armband – is in jeopardy. Marcus Rashford has been horribly off form and Bruno Fernandes switched from a transformative figure to a largely frustrating one.
United’s attack cannot solely be propped up by Cristiano Ronaldo, while the midfield has lacked offensive protection and progression. There is not a position free from needing strengthening.
United require an elite anchor, a dynamic central midfielder, a high-quality forward, a commanding and aerially dominant centre-back that is comfortable defending large spaces, new full-backs and another attacker as a foil for Jadon Sancho.
Ten Hag has a clear football ideology, which is helpful in building a recruitment profile. Sky Sports News has been told he wants “more technical, aggressive, quick-thinking players” that have a “deep responsibility to work without the ball and for each other”.
Given the sizeable changes to scouting operations and the lack of football negotiation nous, it will be interesting to see how United manage extensive outgoings and incomings.
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 prove attractive enough for their targets.
Another element being sold to potential recruits is the opportunity to “write a new Manchester United story.” Ten Hag will oversee a considerably different squad and is expected to introduce a change of culture and increased discipline to what has been a toxic, divided environment.
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Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 10 and closes at 11pm on September 1?
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