Paul Pogba is desperate for £130m move to Real Madrid… a masterclass against Barcelona at the Nou Camp would convince the Spanish giants to make his dream come true
- Pogba’s game at the Camp Nou could make difference in his Real Madrid move
- Zinedine Zidane has not held back when speaking publicly about wanting Pogba
- Real president Florentino Perez is unconvinced, but could have his hand forced
Paul Pogba’s performance at the Camp Nou could be the difference between Manchester United making the Champions League semi-finals or not. It could also be the difference between Real Madrid going all out for the 26-year-old this summer or looking elsewhere for midfield reinforcements.
There is no question Pogba wants the Madrid move. He started learning Spanish several seasons ago with France team-mate Antoine Griezmann. His flirtations during the last international break were deliberate. This is not just a ploy to get a better contract. If the summer soap opera ends with just that and no more he will not complain but that is not his priority.
There is no doubt Pogba now has someone at the Santiago Bernabeu who wants him at Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane has also not held back when speaking publicly about the player.
Paul Pogba’s game at the Camp Nou could be the difference in earning his Real Madrid move
Zinedine Zidane has not held back when speaking publicly about wanting Pogba at Real
Real president Florentino Perez remains unconvinced, but could have his hand forced
However Real Madrid are divided as to whether to pursue the World Cup winner because for all Zidane is in favour, president Florentino Perez remains unconvinced.
Zidane holds the upper hand over signings since taking over again last month on the proviso that he dictates how the squad shapes up this summer, but Perez will still have a major say and he feels he currently has Real Madrid members and supporters on his side when he argues that Pogba is not worth breaking the club’s transfer record for.
Real Madrid’s current transfer record stands at €100million paid for Gareth Bale in 2013. They would need to pay closer to €150m to get Pogba out of United. They would also need to make him their top earner and pay his agent Mina Raiola.
Real Madrid would have to break their transfer record of €100million for Gareth Bale in 2013
A big performance on Tuesday night and the pressure will be on Perez to do all that. Another underwhelming display and Perez hand will be strengthened.
There were less than glowing reviews for Pogba after last week’s first leg. A ‘where was Pogba?’ headline was used in Barcelona based Diario Sport, but the sentiment was felt in Madrid too.
The Madrid president has resisted Zidane’s request to sign Pogba before. Madrid considered him in 2016 when they learned that the player wanted to leave Juventus, but as soon as Manchester United joined the bidding and it became clear it would cost well over £100m to sign him, that his agent’s cut would be record-breaking, and his wages would dwarf those of his new team-mates, Perez decided to ignore Zidane’s request.
The price has since gone up and the poor relationship with Raiola, which played its part, still remains.
It goes back to 2015 when Pogba was linked to Barcelona; Madrid’s then coach Carlo Ancelotti publicly distanced himself from a move and Pogba’s agent was quoted in L’Equipe as saying: ‘Madrid buy players the way some people buy bath towels and then throw aside. We are not interested in a club like that.’
Real’s frosty relationship with Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, is a possible stumbling block
Now things are different. Zidane has far more power than he had three years ago and Perez is ready to overlook his own preferences if he feels he has no choice. Yet if Pogba fails to light up the Camp Nou then he will urge Zidane to consider other options.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen would be Real Madrid’s alternative to Pogba. Spurs do not want their star midfielder’s head turned while the season is still being played out and so the early messages out of the club have been designed to repel Madrid’s advances.
However Eriksen only has a year left on his contract and Perez believes the two clubs will be able to business at the end of the season.
It will be an either/or bid. Both players will not arrive in the same summer. Zidane has been told he can design the new squad but within a realistic budget.
Last Friday, Real Madrid confirmed they had taken out loans in the United States to finance their €575m stadium renovation.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen would be Real’s alternative if they do not sign Pogba
The club revealed they will have to pay back €29.5m a year from 2023 to 2049 to pay for building work that is expected to start this summer and take four years to complete.
They are satisfied that repayment plan will not hamstring in the transfer market but it does rule out a summer of madness like the one in 2009 that saw the club sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema in the same window. Eden Hazard will be the first big signing to happen and a major midfield recruit will follow.
If Madrid do pursue Pogba this summer then the club could have an unexpected ally in Gareth Bale’s agent Stellar Group.
They signed Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez in February, and the 24-year-old Spain international would be well placed to replace Pogba at Old Trafford.