Paul Pogba is reported to have his heart set on a move to Real Madrid this summer, that much we already know. However, according to the latest gossip, so strong is his desire to leave Old Trafford that he is prepared to go on strike to make it happen, should Manchester United stand in his way.
The 26-year-old’s second spell at the club has been fraught with speculation surrounding a potential exit. However, while it reached fever pitch under Jose Mourinho in the first half of last season, his improved form and apparent contentedness under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer initially quietened down the rumours.
Yet that happy spell didn’t last and a dip in form that saw United win just two of their last ten matches in all competitions, and finish sixth in the Premier League, coincided with Zinedine Zidane’s return to Real Madrid and it didn’t take long for the rumours to resurface.
It is believed that Zidane sees Pogba as a central part of his plans to restore Real to glory after a rare trophy-less season, and is prepared to sanction a bid of around €125m to make it happen, as per ABC.
It’s a move that the Spanish outlet say Pogba desperately wants, with a separate report from Marca claiming the midfielder is keen to join up with Eden Hazard in the Spanish capital. However, United would require as much as €180m to sanction the sale of a World Cup winner in the prime of his career.
Pogba, they say, will submit a formal transfer request outlining his intention to leave the club. Should United remain steadfast in their demands, pricing out Los Blancos of the move, Pogba is supposedly prepared to go on strike throughout pre-season and indeed into the start of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign if need be.
It means United could be stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. They won’t want to sell their highest profile star for less than they value him, but if it runs the risk of creating a €100m hole in the playing squad and spreading an (even more) toxic atmosphere in the dressing room, then they may well have to.
If reports are to be believed, that is what Pogba is banking on, anyway.
Big-spending Real Madrid have already completed deals for Rodrygo Goes, Eder Militao, Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard and Ferland Mendy this summer with their spending totalling over €300m.