According to reports from Mirror Football, former club Juventus want to re-sign Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba this summer, linking him up with Red Devils legend Cristiano Ronaldo.
It follows a World Cup in which the 25-year-old was virtually ever-present for winners France, but also let slip to journalists that a rift had developed between himself and Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho.
At first glance, parting with Pogba so close to the new Premier League season would be an absolute disaster for United. But could there be unforeseen positives to letting the midfielder return to the Italian champions this summer? Football FanCast take a look at the potential consequences of a Pogba exit…
Pogba and Mourinho just haven’t been on the same page since the Frenchman returned to Old Trafford and in his heart of hearts, the United boss would probably admit that his one-time world record investment just hasn’t paid off.
It’s created an uneasy political situation too; pretty much every underwhelming Pogba performance last season was accompanied by debates over whether the powerful midfielder’s mentality or Mourinho’s tactics were to blame.
Pogba’s performances in the World Cup, particularly the goal he grabbed in the final, have only seemed to exacerbate those tensions, but selling this summer will have the opposite effect – simply because it takes Pogba and the subsequent debates over how he’s utilised at Old Trafford out of the equation entirely.
That’s one power battle out of the way for Mourinho and having been in a sulk for the entire of pre-season, selling Pogba might actually leave the Red Devils gaffer finally smiling.
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Part of the reason Mourinho’s been so moody this summer is due to United’s lack of action on the inward front in the transfer market. Fred is a promising addition but the Red Devils’ other signings aren’t really for the first team – Diego Dalot is a promising young player at best, and Lee Grant is the new third-choice goalkeeper.
It seems Mourinho needs to sell before he can buy, which is completely understandable considering the amount of value already in the squad and the number of players who aren’t really key factors in his plans but would pick up a decent sum this summer.
Selling Pogba though, would immediately alleviate that issue. Transfermarkt value him at £81million but after his World Cup exploits, United can expect to get some return on the transfer fee they paid Juventus two years ago.
Considering how quiet the Red Devils’ transfer window has been so far this summer, that kind of money would go a really long way to getting some last-minute targets over the line.
Lingard was one of the biggest success stories at United last season and the England international impressed during the World Cup as well, but there really isn’t an obvious role for him in the same starting XI as Pogba – especially after the arrival of Fred. Lingard’s best performances last term came as a No.10, but it’s clear the Frenchman just doesn’t work as a deep-lying midfielder in Mourinho’s system and that he needs to play as the most offensive-minded element in the engine room.
Out wide, Lingard’s much less effective but taking Pogba out of the team would give him an obvious hole to fill as a roaming No.8 in a midfield three, the position he enjoyed to great success under Gareth Southgate in Russia.
Lingard’s perhaps not the same calibre of player as Pogba, but he’s arguably a better fit for the role in Mourinho’s system, simply because he’s more tactically disciplined and offers that ability to weave through the opposition on the break.
It well could be the making of Lingard at United, and it also means Mourinho won’t have to spend money on signing a direct replacement for Pogba this summer – which frees up funds to improve other areas of the squad.
So, United fans, should the Red Devils sell Pogba? Let us know by voting below…