Manchester United have decided once and for all they want to part company with midfielder Paul Pogba this summer after reportedly informing suitors of a new asking price.
The 27-year-old midfielder, strongly linked with the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid this summer, is out of contract in 2021, though United hold an option to extend that by 12 months and it’s claimed they will trigger that as they have done with Nemanja Matic.
The club are believed to have exercised the clause in Matic’s deal and are in fact in talks about the experienced Serb staying for longer.
However, according to The Sun, unlike Matic, United are looking to trigger Pogba’s extension in order to protect their interest in the player and ensure they can claim the maximum transfer fee they can for the problematic France midfielder.
The decision on Pogba’s deal will ensure the injured midfielder’s transfer value remains intact. Pogba’s Man Utd future has been in doubt for months with the player last featuring on Boxing Day after being plagued by an ankle problem.
However, Norwegian boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Pogba was staying following the Red Devils’ emphatic 5-0 victory against Austrian side LASK last week.
“Paul’s our player,” Solskjaer is quoted as saying following the Europa League win.
“He has two years left on his contract, a year plus the option of another. You can expect Paul to be here [next season], yeah.”
However, in the Sun’s exclusive, they claim United are, in fact, actively seeking a buyer for the player and are said to have informed interested parties of their new asking price for him.
Unlike last summer when the player admitted he was seeking a new challenge – an admission that forced United to stick a £150m asking price on his head – the club are now believed to have told suitors that they can sign Pogba for ‘just £100m’.
United will be hoping the new valuation will tempt some of European football’s big boys to bite and hand the club additional monies ahead of what is expected to be a big-spending summer. A report on Thursday claimed Solskjaer had been promised significant backing by the Glazer family after he submitted a five-man transfer wish-list to club chiefs.
According to Le10Sport Pogba and Mino Raiola are working hard to “heal their relationship” with United in order to smooth over talks over his departure, with the World Cup winner still very much intent on quitting the club.
Juventus CEO Fabio Paratici is prepared to spend €100m this summer to bring Pogba back to the club – but the Turin outfit will walk away from the deal should United ask for more with Calciomercato reporting that Juve will instead go for Lyon star Houssem Aouar as their designated Plan B.
Raiola hints at Pogba exit
Speaking last month, Raiola strongly hinted that the player could be seeking to move on, despite insisting he had remained professional throughout a difficult season.
“He never lost his smile, but clearly a great player doesn’t go to Manchester United only to not challenge for the Champions League or the Premier League title,” Raiola told Tuttosport.
“It would be bull for me not to admit Paul wants to stay at the highest level. Pogba will first and foremost try to give his best and then we’ll see at the end of the season if he ought to remain or not.
“I talk to Pavel Nedved and Juventus about many things, including about Pogba and other players, as is only right for a big club.
“You need to get information, see what’s happening, put down a few hypotheses, dream a little… Along with Juventus, there are other clubs in for Paul, but right now he is with Manchester United.
“What I can say is that, just like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul considers Italy to be his second home and he wouldn’t mind returning to Juventus.
“There’s nothing impossible in the transfer market, that has already been proved by Juve, PSG, Real Madrid. The achievement of impossible things is part of this business.”
Pogba, who often courts controversy, drew more criticism this week after wearing a Juventus shirt in support of his France teammate Blaise Matuidi.
“Equally, it can undermine the club by being disrespectful because they’re not keeping the player happy. It is a ridiculous concept that you need to keep players happy. The players should have to keep the manager and the fans happy, and if you don’t, then he (Pogba) has to go.
“This whole situation at United, from the outside, it seems like he has so much power at the club which makes everyone talk about him, the situation is so toxic within the club. He should leave.”