Today’s Manchester United transfer roundup looks at three big stories doing the rounds. Mino Raiola has refused to rule out a move for Paul Pogba, Inter Milan have cold feet over Romelu Lukaku and Steve Bruce has plans for Red Devils target Sean Longstaff.
Report: As reported by AS, ever-controversial agent Mino Raiola has refused to rule out the prospect of his client Paul Pogba returning to Juventus. The Frenchman won four consecutive Serie A titles with the Old Lady before re-joining the Red Devils in summer 2016 and certainly has not been shy about the prospect of leaving Old Trafford during this transfer window, recently discussing his desire for a ‘new challenge‘.
Raiola, meanwhile, replied when seemingly being asked about Pogba moving back to the Italian champions: “I live my life day by day. This is what I can say. Today I am here; tomorrow, I don’t know.”
Verdict: This seems to be more a case of Raiola keeping doors open rather than trying to manufacture a move to Juve. As AS states in the report, Juventus would ‘almost certainly‘ need to sell players or offer a swap deal to United in order to afford Pogba after snapping up Matthijs De Ligt. That’s not to say a deal definitely won’t happen, but it would clearly require a lot of work on Juve’s part. Raiola’s comments then, shouldn’t be taken as a clear indication on where Pogba could end up next season.
How likely is a deal? 4/10
Report: According to an exclusive from The Sun, the Inter Milan hierarchy are getting cold feet over the potential signing of Romelu Lukaku, something which has angered manager Antonio Conte who reportedly feels the club haven’t delivered on a number of promises. Lukaku has been linked with the San Siro side for much of the summer, however it seems his potential move has hit a snag with Inter chiefs unconvinced he’s worth the £75m price-tag.
Verdict: This update on the Lukaku saga is pretty believable. Inter are yet to spend more than £36m on a player in this millennium, so having second thoughts about a £75m purchase is more than understandable, especially after a really mixed 2018/19 for Lukaku that saw his strike rate drop from better than one-in-two to just one-in-three.
Likewise, since this story broke Conte has described Lukaku as an “important” signing for Inter and there are two ways to read into that. One: Conte’s speaking so boldly about signing him because the above report is off the mark and he knows the hierarchy are ready to swoop. Two: Conte’s going public to try and put pressure on his paymasters to get a deal done.
How likely is a deal? 9/10
Report: Newcastle’s fresh appointment Steve Bruce is set to hold talks with Manchester United target Sean Longstaff in the coming days according to Sky Sports. The 21-year-old burst onto the scene last season, making nine Premier League appearances in total, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly very keen to sign the midfielder. Bruce, however, will tell Longstaff that he’s a key part of his plans at Newcastle, which could well impact a potential move to United.
Verdict: Bruce is an inevitably underwhelming appointment compared to predecessor Rafa Benitez and selling a local-born academy product during his first transfer window at the club certainly won’t help win over any doubters. But with Newcastle demanding £50m and Man United being one of the richest clubs in the world, the potential for a deal is still there. Perhaps the talks are more about public perceptions than anything else – Bruce’s attempt to distance himself from any future sale rather than being seen as a central figure in it.
How likely is a deal? 6/10