Manchester United reportedly plan to let Paul Pogba leave Old Trafford in January – and use the funds to sign not one, but two midfield superstars, according to reports.
Pogba’s future at United has been under the spotlight in recent months, with the player strongly linked with moves to both Real Madrid and his former club Juventus. The Spanish champions are reportedly ready to launch a fresh approach for the Frenchman’s services in the coming days and amid claims they will have offer United two players in exchange and as a sweetener.
However, it seems United have ideas of their own and are said to seeking as much as £180m for a player, who is contracted to the club until 2021 but has shown precious few signs of wanting to sign an extension.
Links with both players are nothing new for United, with links to Atletico Madrid star Saul re-emerging on Tuesday after he was set to have been targeted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The classy Spanish star is contracted to Atletico until 2026, and the midfielder is reported to have a release clause of £135m – something United would reportedly be prepared to pay were Pogba to leave.
United are also understood to have made an enquiry to Ajax for Dutch star Van de Beek; their hopes of signing him receiving a timely boost after the Amsterdammers – Champions League semi-finalists last season – were dumped out of the competition at the group stages on Tuesday night.
Van de Beek is reportedly valued at anything between £50m – £75m depending on the sources you read, but there’s little doubting he’s a player likely to interest United were he to become available.
Solskjaer has said he is confident of landing his targets as he looks to strengthen the United squad for a surge up the table in the second half of the season.
Talking to Norwegian channel TV2, Solskjaer said: “This week might cause people to talk a bit less, and for me it’s always more fun to talk about things other than critique or speculations.
“I find it unnecessary when I know what we are doing and trying to do, and what we have planned going forward.
“If we can keep these boys injury-free, we will take lots of points — and we are going to reinforce the squad.
“It is physically tough to play football the way I want to play football. But we are on our way to become as robust as I want and need.
“These boys have the right attitude, they have the belief, they are boys that I want to keep going forward, that’s why they are here right now.”
Either way, it seems Pogba‘s time at United could be coming to a close.
United earned a vital win over Tottenham at Old Trafford last Wednesday before beating Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to ease the pressure on boss Solskjaer.
Pogba, who is suffering from a long-term ankle injury and is set to return in the coming weeks, was again absent as other stars such as Scott McTominay impressed in midfield.
Speaking to Alan Brazil on talkSPORT, former Crystal Palace boss Holloway urged the United hierarchy to observe how the club are performing without the Frenchman in the side.
“I’d put [Pogba] in the back of my car and drive him off, go away,” the pundit said. “Do you think they’re missing him? I don’t, not at all.
“What could they do with the money Al? That’s what I’m saying. I’m sure if you give Ole… if you look at his last three signings I love them all and have done well.
“Get rid of Pogba, give [Solskjaer] that amount of money, re-buy and I think they will be in a much better place.”
Holloway also claimed that Pogba is not buying into the mentality Solskjaer is trying to instill at Old Trafford.
He said: “The focus they had [under Sir Alex Ferguson] on winning and what it takes to win was there every week, every minute, all the time.
“That was put there by their manager. I believe their new manager is trying to do that and some of the lads aren’t having it.
“[Pogba’s] one of them because he cannot do it week in, week out.”