For weeks, the 2018 summer transfer window had gone relatively dormant. Then, out of nowhere on Monday night, the rumor mill exploded with multiple reports concerning Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Barcelona had bid $57.8 million plus Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes.
According to Sky Sports, Barca’s interest is legitimate.
And according to ESPN, Pogba, “unsettled” by recent comments from manager Jose Mourinho, “would consider either a move to Barcelona or a return to Juventus if given the option.”
United, however, reportedly rejected the Barcelona bid, and will surely knock back any others. The rumblings will almost certainly come to nothing.
That doesn’t mean Pogba isn’t unsettled. It doesn’t mean Barcelona’s interest isn’t real. But United has no reason to sell.
Why is Pogba unsettled?
Pogba’s relationship with Mourinho has seemed strained for a while now. They argued on the touchline during a game last season. Days later, Mourinho benched Pogba, the low point of a frustrating season for the Frenchman.
Then, after Pogba – often misused by Mourinho at United – showed his true quality in leading France to a World Cup title, the manager essentially pinned blame for the up-and-down season on Pogba. “I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him,” Mourinho told ESPN. “It’s about him giving the best he has to give.”
Pogba has every right to be rankled. He, for the most part, is in the right here. Mourinho, for the most part, is in the wrong here (and elsewhere).
But that doesn’t mean Pogba is going anywhere.
Why Manchester United surely won’t sell Pogba
First of all, Pogba is United’s best player. He’s an on-field and off-field icon. Even if his performance didn’t meet lofty expectations last year, he was and is a vital cog in United’s midfield. He should be even better in his third season (back) at the club. He has three years left on his contract. He’s tremendously valuable.
Plus, the Premier League transfer window closes in less than three days. United, if it were to sell, would have very little time, if any, to find a replacement. And they’d absolutely need a replacement for such a multi-talented, talismanic player.
Oh, and by the way: Juventus definitely doesn’t have the money to meet United’s likely astronomical asking price. Barcelona probably doesn’t either – which in part explains why the reported bid was an insufficient player-plus-cash proposal.
So what is going on here?
Mino Raiola is going on. That’s what. The infamous superagent was reportedly in England Monday to push for a move. He’s infamous for doing just that – for persuading players to search for new clubs, and therefore transfers, which invariably come with hefty agent fees, which go to Raiola. He was an influential player in the Alexis Sanchez deal. And he’s undoubtedly an influential player here. In fact, part of his offensive is likely leaking to media – perhaps directly, perhaps indirectly – that Pogba is unhappy at United.
Per ESPN, though, Pogba won’t “agitate” for a move. Mourinho will almost certainly leave Man United before Pogba does. Maybe then he’ll fulfill the upper echelon of his potential. That possibility, in a nutshell, is why United won’t sell.
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