Drawing inspiration from Alikhan Mukhamedi’s post regarding possible replacements for Pogba, I will consider the potential landing spots if he departs the Bianconeri this summer.
Suitor #1: FC Barcelona
None of the current midfielders for Barcelona: Rafinha, Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic, and Turan present an obstacle to adding Paul Pogba. With Iniesta turning 32 in a month, Barcelona will be looking to bolster their rotation with a young, talented midfielder. Furthermore, Barcelona has always strived to secure the best young talent in the world. Just imagine a midfield headed by Paul Pogba, Ivan Rakitic, and Sergio Busquets. Neymar has already publically courted Pogba, saying how he believes Pogba would fit well at Camp Nou. Also, Pogba has noted Iniesta is an inspiration to his play style, and who better to help hone is skills than one of his role models (Beck). Money is of no issue for Barcelona, so if Juventus puts a price tag on Pogba this summer, you can bet on Barcelona matching it.
Suitor #2: Chelsea
Chelsea is in a bit of a different situation. Currently in decline and with their star player being made available for transfer this summer, Chelsea doesn’t really look the part. However, Pogba has a strong relationship with Antonio Conte, his former manager and mentor, and I believe he would welcome the challenge of competing in arguably the strongest league in football. Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, and Oscar already crowd the midfield at Chelsea, however, Antonio Conte might have the perfect solution. Reported by the daily express, Conte has already masterminded a potential deal swapping Willian, Oscar, and cash with Juventus to land Pogba at Stamford Bridge (Gray). Chelsea figure to be big players in any Pogba sweepstakes, regardless of their situation with Eden Hazard.
Suitor #3: Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s interest in the Frenchman has been well-advertised over the last couple of years. With the impending turnover this summer, Man City will have the necessary roster space, transfer budget, and wages needed to bring in high profile prospects. Given the uncertainty surrounding Yaya Toure’s future at Man City, Paul Pogba could step in and fill that hole right away (C0sta). Like Chelsea, the opportunity to play in football’s top league could lure Pogba to the Etihad. Also, the opportunity to compete for a Champions League title now could be a big factor in his decision. Already landing big name players such as Ilkay Gündongan, Pep Guardiola will leverage all of his influence and power to land Pogba.
Suitor #4: Real Madrid
What would a major sweepstakes be without Real Madrid in the picture. With the futures of Ronaldo, Bale, Kroos, James, and Bale up in the air, Pogba might be the perfect player to prevent the departures of so many world class players. There is a link between the French heritages of Pogba and Zidane, possibly leading to a more natural transition into the team. Pogba told fifa.com Ronaldo was his role model and the reason he fell in love with the game (Rosenblatt). No doubt the opportunity to play alongside Ronaldo would be quite appealing. Pogba would sure up an already shaky midfield at the Bernabéu and give Zidane a formidable option to rely on, especially in the Champions League. Given the current state of flux, Real Madrid are going to be big players come July 1st.
Suitor #5: Paris Saint-Germain
The connection to France differentiates PSG from the clubs listed above. However, despite their deep pockets, I can’t see Pogba leaving Juventus to play at PSG. With rumors of Ibrahimovic destined to play in the Premier League next year and Cavani linked to Juventus, PSG might not have quite the appeal of the clubs above. Plus, in the eyes of many playing in Ligue 1 is second to playing in Serie A. Only having finished as high as the quarter finals in recent years, PSG isn’t a step closer to winning a Champions League title compared to Juventus. Having said all that, in the unlikely scenario Ibrahimovic and Cavani stay and Pogba wants to return to France, PSG could end up landing the coveted Frenchman.
I think if Juventus decides to part ways with Pogba, he will most likely end up alongside Rakitic and Iniesta in Barcelona. Given Barcelona’s continued interest in Pogba over the years, the personal courtships from Neymar and Luis Enrique, and Barcelona’s seemingly endless cash reserves, I would give FC Barcelona the edge in any summer bidding war.
What do you think? Who else do you think could realistically win the Pogba Sweepstakes? Post your thoughts and comments down below.
Beck, Tom. “Barcelona Transfer News: Pogba Responds to Neymar and Blaugrana Rumours.” Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report, 10 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
Costa, Philip. “Paul Pogba Tops Guardiola’s Wish List at Man City; Arsenal in for Odion Ighalo.” ESPNFC.com. ESPN, 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
Gray, James. “Chelsea to Offer Juventus Stunning Double Swap Deal for Paul Pogba.” Daily Express Football RSS. Express, 06 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
“Juventus Dismiss Pogba to PSG Rumours.” FourFourTwo. FourFourTwo, 17 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
Rosenblatt, Ryan. “Paul Pogba Idolized Ronaldo and Zidane so That’s Basically a Real Madrid Transfer Rumor.” FOX Soccer. FOX Sports, 15 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.