Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, but the French international is in no rush to confirm his next destination
Paul Pogba is set to be one of the most in-demand free agents in world football when he leaves Manchester United for the second time, and the World Cup winner is prepared to wait a while before deciding on his next move.
The club-record signing, who rejoined United for £89.3m in 2016, has failed to agree an extension on his current deal and will move on at the end of the season. However, with interest from a number of top clubs, the 29-year-old is expected to take his time.
Pogba has played more than 200 games for the Manchester club in his second stint, scoring 39 goals. He has failed to win the Premier League during that time, though, lifting just two trophies and none since the Europa League final in 2017.
According to The Telegraph, Pogba will let his contract run down before deciding his next move, rather than signing a pre-contract agreement with one of his potential suitors. The Frenchman had cost Juventus nothing when he joined the Italian side in 2012, upsetting United’s then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the process.
He spent four years in Italy, winning Serie A in each of those seasons, to earn a move back to Old Trafford. However, as he prepares to leave for the second time, most will consider his second United stint to have been a failure.
Where next for Pogba, though? Mirror Football has looked at five potential destinations for a player who will want to hit the ground running at his next club before aiming to secure back-to-back World Cup triumphs with France in Qatar.
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Real Madrid have rarely been averse to superstar signings, and they have looked to Old Trafford in the past. David Beckham arrived during the Galacticos era at the start of the century, while Los Blancos broke the world transfer record to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu in 2009.
The Spanish giants haven’t always been the types to rely on free transfers, but the tide has begun to turn in that respect. David Alaba joined for nothing from Bayern Munich last summer, while Kylian Mbappe – another man out of contract this year – has been linked with a move after impressing against Carlo Ancelotti’s side in Europe.
With Luka Modric and Toni Kroos both in their 30s, Pogba could fit the right age profile for the team currently sitting atop La Liga. And with compatriot Eduardo Camavinga coming through the ranks, there’s a chance for the United man to act as a mentor at club and international level.
One of the big things missing from Pogba’s CV is a spell in his homeland. He left Le Havre for Manchester at the age of 16, having yet to make his senior debut, meaning most French football fans have been forced to watch him from afar.
Of course, Paris Saint-Germain are likely to be the only French club capable of meeting his wage demands. And they could have a fair amount of budget to play with if Mbappe ends up leaving for Madrid.
PSG made a number of statement signings last summer, many on free transfers but not all the roaring successes the club had hoped for. Still, bringing Pogba home – he was born in the suburbs to the east of the city – would certainly have its appeal.
Pogba has already left United for Juve once, and there are plenty in Turin who would welcome a repeat. Considering he moved to Italy as a teenager and left as one of the most expensive players in history, it’s fair to say the first spell was a success.
The Bianconeri kept up their run of titles after Pogba left in 2016, but have found things tougher more recently. Indeed, after a surprise Champions League elimination at the hands of Villarreal, Max Allegri’s side still have a little bit of work to do to make sure of their place in next season’s competition.
Allegri’s presence is another factor, with the Italian in the dugout as Pogba and his teammates reached the Champions League final in 2015. A big-money move for Dusan Vlahovic in January demonstrated Juve’s ambition – could Pogba follow.
If Pogba was to make the short trip to Manchester City, he wouldn’t be the first to do so. And he might not even be the most controversial.
Carlos Tevez and the infamous “Welcome to Manchester” banner will perhaps never be topped. That’s not to say a similar switch for Pogba wouldn’t come close.
Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola also represents Erling Haaland, who continues to be linked with a summer move to the Etihad Stadium. If both players end up making the move, it would be a significant one-two punch given United’s previous pursuit of the Norwegian.
While each of the clubs above has a specific reason why they might be interested in Pogba, Chelsea remain the great unknown. Not least because we don’t yet know who will own the club come the summer.
Roman Abramovich is poised to sell up after nearly two decades at the helm, that much is certain. And the new owners, whoever they are, may wish to make one or more statement signings in their first transfer window.
Pogba would be a good candidate thanks to his profile and the lack of a transfer fee, but that’s not the only reason. Some of his best football over the past few years has come in a France shirt, with N’Golo Kante in support, and there will be some in west London who may wonder whether a revival of that partnership could help revive the Man Utd man’s Premier League career.