Former Manchester United chief scout Javier Ribalta says Paul Pogba is destined to leave Old Trafford next summer.
Pogba, who has been sidelined with an ankle problem in September, is contracted to United until 2021, but the club have an option to extend that by 12 months.
His future however remains unclear after he declared his intention to look for a “new challenge” whilst on United’s pre-season tour in Asia.
Real Madrid were understood to be keen on the France midfielder, but were apparently scared off by United’s asking price for the former Juventus man.
But with United struggling in the Premier League – they are currently 10 points adrift of fourth spot – Ribalta, who left United in the summer 2018 for the sporting director’s role at Zenit St Petersburg, thinks Pogba’s decision to leave will be influenced by United missing out on Champions League football.
“Without Champions [League], Paul is destined to leave Manchester United,” Ribalta told Tuttosport.
Asked about Juventus’ chances of signing Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix, Erling Haaland or Pogba, Ribalta added: “None of the four looks simple to me, but I would bet a pizza with a friend on Pogba’s return.”
Pogba, who spent time in the UAE during the international break to step up his recovery, was pictured with Zidane, who was in the country to attend the Dubau Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.
It was pure chance,” the 47-year-old said. “[Pogba] was there and I was doing the talk and, as we know each other, we spoke. But it’s personal – I’m not going to tell you what we talked about.
“We’ve known each other for a long time, we crossed paths, we stopped, and we talked.”