Who Will Win the Pogba Sweepstakes?

By | April 18, 2016

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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Potential Barcelona lineup with Paul Pogba. Source: http://www.goal.com/en/news/1717/editorial/2015/06/15/12729692/pogba-in-deulofeu-out-barcelonas-summer-transfer-plans

What do you think? Who else do you think could realistically win the Pogba Sweepstakes? Post your thoughts and comments down below.

 

Citations:

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.

3 thoughts on “Who Will Win the Pogba Sweepstakes?

  1. Austin Tran

    Great post Chris! All things considered I feel that Pogba should not and will not leave the Bianconeri this summer even though he is a player of astronomical value who could move to traditional powerhouses like Real Madrid and Barcelona with ease. First off, recent articles on the topic have cited Pogba as having already declared his intentions to stay with the team that has helped his ascension to international stardom. While their may or may not be validity to the sources or the actual statement itself, another reason that I feel will cause him to stay is the fact that he is established and is already a Big Fish in a relatively small pond. While I do not try to insult Juventus by calling them anything else but a world-class organization, I feel that his mindset and the fact that he is already the go-to guy for a constant European contender (made the Champions League finals last year) will prevent him from willingly sacrificing his role as the central players to guys like Ronaldo and Messi. Yes, Barcelona and Real Madrid know how to integrate superstars into their teams, but Pogba seems like the type of player who can only thrive and operate at his best when he is the figurehead for his team. I must admit I would love to see him at Chelsea and feel that he could be the centerpiece of the team for years to come if he does move, the poor showing this year in the Barclay’s Premier League has probably already dissuaded him from a team that looks to be stuck in the gutter for the time being.

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  2. Alikhan Mukhamedi

    Great post, Chris!
    @Aristide Sangano, Modric is, by far, better than Pogba right now, but Kroos and James would undoubtedly sit on the bench should Pogba move to Real.
    Also, Chris, do not forget about the financial fair-play imposed by FIFA. Even though teams like Barca, PSG, ManCity and Real may afford Pogba in theory, they will have to sell someone for a good amount of money. Or offer players + cash, as you mentioned with the Chelsea case. As a Juve fan, Oscar + Willian + cash swap would be great, but fingers crossed, I want to see Isco + Danilo + cash. If anything, Isco would replace Pogba, and Danilo would be a great sub for aging Lichtsteiner gradually taking place in the starting eleven. Also, having ex-Porto full-backs (Alex Sandro & Danilo) seems very appealing to me. I just hope that if we do sell Pogba this summer, we get someone great.

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  3. Aristide Sangano

    Great post Chris! I definitely agree with all your suggestions on who has a chance of ending up with Pogba in their team by the end of the summer. While I would love to see him at Chelsea, I realize that this is unlikely because as good a team as Chelsea is, it is not in the best of conditions right now and this might play a big role. However, I think Chelsea needs someone like Pogba to come back stronger next season. Someone with more creativity in the midfield , with both offensive and defensive qualities that many players do not have. It would actually also do him some good to be at Chelsea because he would get to play in the most competitive league in the world, as the star player of one of the best teams and this would boost his confidence, elevate his game and make him more noticeable. Hazard of 2015 is the perfect example of this. The idea of Conte swapping him with Oscar and Willian (undoubtedly Chelsea’s player of the season) would not be a good one though because a midfield of Matic/Mikel, Willian, Pogba and Hazard (assuming he is back in form and is not sold) would be quite deadly.
    I think for him to succeed at Real Madrid, players like Kroos, Modrich or James would have to leave first to give him assured play time. He would definitely bolster Barca’s midfield especially because of his versatility and his stature.

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