The future of French midfielder Paul Pogba grows more curious. He’s the subject of intense transfer speculation, which is likely to become even more intense now that he and France have exited the World Cup.
The possibility of a deal for the Juventus player has already attracted Chelsea’s attention – and the Blues would be one of the few clubs in the world who would be able to meet the Italians’ valuation. It’s thought it would cost around £60 million to prise Pogba out of Turin.
It’s clear why Pogba is sought after – he’s one of the most talented young box-to-box midfielders in the world. He pretty much offers everything a team could need – energy, strength, intelligence, power. He is adept at both winning the ball and using it. He’s a dynamo at the heart of his team.
Buying him would cost Chelsea more than the £60 million transfer outlay, of course – he’d be looking at a salary of around £150,000 a week at the minimum, so the overall outlay (assuming he was signed to a five-year deal) would be somewhere between £19-20 million a year. That’s a lot of money for a 21-year-old, but it would be worth it.
Pogba would fit the one gap missing in the Chelsea midfield. Matic is a sensational defensive midfielder but doesn’t pop up in attacking positions. Fabregas is a passer of remarkable vision, but not the game’s best tackler. Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Schurrle are all happiest attacking the opposition penalty area. Pogba would be an ideal link between all these areas.
But Chelsea is not going to have it all their way in any race to sign Pogba. Manchester City are the latest club to be linked with the Frenchman, the suggestion in the Parisian newspaper L’Equipe ( as reported by the Express ) being that they will bid for him as a replacement for Yaya Toure if the Ivorian carries out his threat to leave City. However, a £20 million a year addition to the club’s annual outlay may not be compatible with their Financial Fair Play commitments, given the penalties imposed on City by UEFA for the coming season.
Manchester United have also been named as possible contenders for Pogba’s signature – indeed, some reports have them as the favourites. This would seem to be unlikely, given the player’s acrimonious departure from the club two years ago. He refused to sign a new contract after feeling undervalued and under-used by United. However the Salford side may feel that with Sir Alex Ferguson no longer in charge, Pogba’s bitterness at his treatment may have evaporated. Whether the Old Trafford board are willing to take back a player who rejected them is another question.
It would be surprising if the nouveau riche French giants, PSG and Monaco, didn’t make a move to bring Pogba back to his homeland, and we still haven’t heard from Barcelona or Real Madrid. Madrid look to be building a new midfield around Toni Kroos, while Barcelona are still relying on the tried and tested Xavi-Iniesta-Bouquets triumvirate – so La Liga may be an unlikely destination for Pogba.
There is, however, the very strong possibility that Pogba remains where he is at Juventus. The Turin team appear to be in no need to sell – particularly if they raise cash by selling Pogba’s partner Arturo Vidal to Manchester United (although that deal looks to be less probable now that Juventus are asking for upward of £60 million for the Chilean).
Pogba himself is reportedly settled at Juventus and not seeking a transfer. His agent Mino Raiola says: “The boy is happy in Turin and will not leave.” This could well be the major stumbling block in the way of bringing Paul Pogba to Stamford Bridge.