Given that Paul Pogba’s transfer to Manchester United has taken the best part of a month to complete, with the Frenchman’s every movement scrutinised intensely, it’s perhaps no surprise that, with Real Madrid firmly out of the race to sign him, some less-than positive news regarding the deal has come out.
Simon Stone, reporting for the BBC, carries quotes from Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri who suggests that Pogba is, at present, expected to return to the club at the start of next week.
“It makes no sense at the moment talking about potential replacements for Pogba because, right now, Pogba is a Juventus player,” said Allegri. “I’ve summoned Pogba together with (Patrice) Evra tomorrow night, so that means he has training here in Vinovo (Juventus’ training base) on Monday.”
Allegri’s comments are interesting at best, and slightly worrying at worst. Given that a deal for Pogba is still not concluded, despite widespread reports that a deal for the player is imminent, it makes sense that Allegri would expect his player back in training at the conclusion of his holiday.
From United’s perspective, the Bianconeri boss’ comments could mean any number of things. It could be a calculated attempt to speed up the deal to avoid the potential embarrassment of United seeing Pogba return to Italy after a summer of intense speculation and gamesmanship over his future; it could be a sign of Juventus’ willingness to play hardball if negotiations have struck a wall (which is entirely likely, given the suggested complexities of this deal), or it could just be an attempt to save face, with the deal actually close to being completed at long last.
The last comment on Pogba is perhaps the most interesting: “It makes no sense at the moment talking about potential replacements for Pogba because, right now, Pogba is a Juventus player.”
‘Right now’ being the operative term.
Another theory is presented by TransferMarketWeb, who suggest that Paris Saint Germain’s Blaise Matuidi could end up as Pogba’s replacement. If no deal is done to bring Matuidi to Italy, then perhaps this explains Juventus’ reluctance to sign off on the completion of Pogba’s exit to Old Trafford. B)
But of course, it’s difficult to tell, especially with such a complicated, lengthy and contrived deal such as this, so United fans simply find themselves in the same situation they’ve been in for weeks when it comes to Paul Pogba; just waiting for news.