This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Real Madrid had been chasing Paul Pogba for the entirety of last summer. Reports coming from Marca stated Zinedine Zidane wanted the Frenchman exclusively and no one else but Manchester United’s presumed price of €120m (£107.9m) proved to be too much.
And now, it seems like there’s a scenario in which they won’t even have to spend any money at all and could still get their desired player profile.
Pogba and Real Madrid had been a true love story throughout the summer.
The question of whether he would make the move was the talk of the transfer window for Los Blancos and after a price was slapped on him that not even Zidane’s club could match, the Frenchman remained at Old Trafford.
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And obviously, Pogba is a player of great quality, that much is known to the footballing world, so Real’s interest doesn’t really come as a surprise.
But now, with the recent emergence of Valverde, it seems that chasing Pogba in a multi-million deal would be an unwise decision. After all, the 21-year-old Castilla talent fits the description perfectly.
Saying that Valverde is better than Pogba would be absurd. After all, we’re talking about a World Cup winner and one of Premier League’s best midfielders at the moment, despite United’s current struggles.
The Frenchman has averaged 1.8 shots and 2.6 key passes per game in the 2019/20 Premier League campaign and already has two assists to his name.
But even though Valverde can hardly match him stat to stat, he is just 21 and offers a similar output and similar qualities to Pogba.
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Just last weekend, in Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over Granada, the young midfielder was incredible, tallying nine recovered balls, two of which then ultimately led to Los Blancos’ second and third goals.
Not to mention that he has one assist himself already and is capable of playing across multiple positions – as he confirmed himself when asked about his role in the team – offering Madrid the true box-to-box player they’ve been looking to find in Pogba.
With similar qualities that are bound to improve and with no price tag on his head, Valverde definitely looks like the better and cheaper alternative to the £107.9m-rated Frenchman.
His age is just a bonus and so is the fact he is a product of Castilla.
With enough trust and development, Valverde just might save Real Madrid a lot of money come next summer.