This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to The Daily Mail, Juventus have ended their interest in potentially signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba this summer.
The report claims that despite Pogba’s openness in making a return to Turin, Juventus’ vice-chairman Pavel Nedved informed the Frenchman’s agent Mino Raiola that they intended to pursue other targets.
It adds that the Old Lady’s decision on the France World Cup winner has essentially given Real Madrid a free run at potentially signing the midfielder this summer as long as they can match United’s valuation and the player’s wage demands.
So Juventus have become the first team to fold in the Pogba sweepstakes. In what has been a long and arduous transfer saga, a move away from Old Trafford for the 26-year-old seems almost inevitable.
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Reports in recent weeks and months have suggested both Juventus and Real Madrid were strong contenders for his signature, but the news of the Italian side dropping out has come at a very interesting time indeed. Speaking on the club’s pre-season tour of the USA, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was adamant that they didn’t have to sell any of their star players this summer.
He said: “As far as I’m aware up until now, we don’t have any bids for our players, so there’s no reason to say most of our players have long contracts, we’re Man United, we don’t have to sell players.”
The Norwegian’s steadfast approach was certainly brave, and if the intention was to get teams to back away from making a move for Pogba, then it has clearly worked. But if the intention was to potentially start a bidding war between the two European giants and drive the midfielder’s price up, then Solskjaer has been well and truly caught bluffing.
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As the only reported side left interested in signing the Frenchman, Real Madrid can force United into a difficult position.
The Red Devils have a player who has publicly admitted he wants out and if Los Blancos decide to take advantage of the situation and put in a low bid knowing that they have no competition, then United may be forced to accept it – or at best, negotiate up to a fee that still doesn’t represent Pogba’s true worth.
If they don’t, then the Pogba circus will rumble on for another season and who knows what kind of disastrous effect it could have on the team and the club as a whole.