Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is the subject of interest from French giants Paris Saint-Germain, although the 2018 World Cup winner is yet to decide what his next move will be.
Pogba is on course to be out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the season, allowing him to potentially leave the club as a free agent – that would mean no transfer fee for United, who paid what was then a world record £89m to sign him from Juventus in the summer of 2016.
As of this month, the 28-year-old is already permitted to formally negotiate and even sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs to lock in a free transfer for the summer.
90min first reported in July 2021 that Pogba is keen to assess all of the options available to him before making a decision. That hasn’t changed. Nothing is off the table, including signing a new deal in Manchester, and agent Mino Raiola has been keeping various parties informed.
United officials have been split over whether to hand Pogba a new contract. For some at the club, the potential cost of a deal worth perhaps £400,000 per week is not justified. However, others are concerned about the possibility of losing an £89m investment for nothing.
As such, United have remained in talks since the end of 2020. But Pogba has stopped short of coming to any sort of agreement with his current employers.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed he has no intention of trying to persuade Pogba to commit to United if the player is not fully invested in staying.
“I wouldn’t say he is not worth keeping but players need to want to stay and play for the club. If a player doesn’t want to play for a club like Manchester United, even in the long term, I don’t think it makes sense to convince him to change his mind,” Rangnick recently explained.
Although Raiola has been in touch with various clubs, as well as in discussions with United, Pogba’s suitors have generally been in the dark as to the player’s intentions. Raiola has long desired a bidding war, not as a tactic to drive up the money, but in order to land on the ‘right’ offer.
The agent confirmed to Germany’s Sport1 in December: “We have many offers for him, including a contract extension. We’ll see what’s best for him.”
Real Madrid, Juventus and PSG have typically been the club’s most strongly linked with Pogba over the last couple of years. Barcelona have also been mentioned in the past but their ongoing financial troubles have effectively ruled out the possibility of an approach.
It was also reported in Spain in November, that Real, keen admirers of Pogba during Zinedine Zidane’s time in charge, could also take a back seat in the running. Despite not having to pay a transfer fee, their resources are said to be earmarked for other positions – Kylian Mbappe will command a bumper contract and Erling Haaland is also a target.
With Juventus thought to be lacking spending power, which would limit their ability to make an attractive offer, and Bayern Munich out of the question because of their typically smaller salaries, it leaves PSG as the most obvious destination for Pogba should he wish to move on from United – at nearly 29, this is likely to be the last big contract of his career, whoever it is with.
In France, L’Equipe now writes that Juve is the option Pogba finds least tempting, while current Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti does not carry the same enthusiasm for him as Zidane did. They say, the interest from PSG is ‘real’ and ‘reciprocal’, with the fact he would be available as a free agent an added attraction following recent captures of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnarumma. However, potential concerns do arise over the impact on the balance of a dressing room that is already full of superstar names and big characters.
Pogba has not played since suffering a thigh injury while training with France during the November international break and his last appearance in any competition was in United’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta at the start of that month.
The player spent several weeks undergoing rehab and warm weather training in Dubai but has since returned to Manchester to continue his ongoing recovery. He was initially expected to return to action this month but is now earmarked for a February comeback instead.