This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Real Madrid and Paul Pogba’s relationship is, by this point, old news.
Throughout the vast majority of the summer transfer window, Zinedine Zidane was insisting on signing Pogba and Pogba only.
And sure, there were other names on the table, like Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen and Ajax’s Donny van de Beek, but even though they were attainable, they never seemed to be pursued that strongly.
The reason for that? The man in the dugout.
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Back then, it was Zidane who essentially discarded all other options and practically forced the club to chase after Pogba even though United were not playing ball – reportedly demanding a staggering €200m (£172.5m).
And now, according to an article published by Marca, it seems that it has been decided – Pogba will remain a priority signing for as long as Zidane is in charge.
The midfielder’s contract is slowly and surely running out – it expires in 2021 – and the Galacticos are betting on that card to bring in the goods sooner rather than later.
But Zidane’s stubbornness might cost Real Madrid in the long run, especially considering that Marca emphasise that Pogba is the coach’s explicit wish and the club actually have other targets in mind.
Eriksen is a much cheaper option and basically an offer too good to turn down as he will be a free agent in the summer, while Van de Beek can reportedly be acquired immediately and Martin Odegaard, their young breakthrough talent, is turning into an incredible player in his own right while on loan at Real Sociedad.
And while Pogba is a World Cup winner and a pretty well-known name to the footballing world, it very much feels like the upper management are not entirely sold on the prospect of incorporating him into the team.
That could mean that Zidane will have a task of convincing them first before anything else can be done, given that the board continue to look at alternative options, which in turn could lead to some friction. Politics between boardroom and dugout is hardly unheard of at Real.
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Not only that but despite his contract running out, it’s reasonable to expect that the Red Devils would demand a hefty sum of money for him nonetheless, seeing how they previously wanted a reported figure of £175.2m.
Investing heavily into a star player is practically a must in the modern market but considering that Los Blancos have multiple equally satisfying options on the table as well, this particular investment doesn’t seem worth the trouble anymore.
The final reason as to why this is turning into a fool’s errand is the negative effect it could possibly have on Real Madrid’s young players.
Federico Valverde has already been dubbed as the cheaper and better alternative to Pogba, but his fellow young Castilla graduates would hardly get their chance with the Frenchman in the squad.
Taking all of that into consideration, it seems that Zidane’s stubbornness to land his top priority target could do more harm than good in the long run – it’s causing an internal debate, it could block the development of their youth players and is most likely going to cost a small fortune.
Is Pogba really worth all of that hassle?