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Why Real Madrid and Barcelona won’t be chasing Paul Pogba this summer





  • At one point, Paul Pogba could have been a viable option for both clubs 
  • Josep Bartomeu used interest in Pogba as part of his presidential election 
  • Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was keen on signing him in summer 2016 
  • But the Spanish giants have never had a good relationship with Mino Raiola 
  • If Pogba has a good World Cup in Russia they could be keen, but it is still unlikely 

By Pete Jenson for MailOnline

Published: 05:35 EDT, 17 April 2018 | Updated: 06:07 EDT, 17 April 2018

If Paul Pogba and Manchester United expected his agreed departure from Old Trafford to have turned the world of Spanish football upside down they would be very disappointed.

In Madrid they are still talking about the Lucas Vazquez penalty against Juventus (yes really) and in Barcelona the focus is on another midfielder, Andres Iniesta and his imminent announcement that he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the season. He is likely to confirm his departure after this weekend's Copa del Rey final.

At one point in the past Pogba might have been seen as a possible replacement for Iniesta. He could certainly occupy the same left of three midfield berth but his opportunity has gone and Barca have Philippe Coutinho and the Brazilian Arthur primed to step into their captain’s boots.

Midfielder Paul Pogba seems to be on his way out of Manchester United in the summer
Midfielder Paul Pogba seems to be on his way out of Manchester United in the summer

Midfielder Paul Pogba seems to be on his way out of Manchester United in the summer

But it is unlikely that either Barcelona or Real Madrid will want to sign the France international
But it is unlikely that either Barcelona or Real Madrid will want to sign the France international

But it is unlikely that either Barcelona or Real Madrid will want to sign the France international

Back in 2015 there were presidential elections at Barcelona and as part of Josep Bartomeu’s successful candidature European Football Assessor Ariedo Braida and Sporting Director Alberto Soler were pictured with Juventus directors having supposedly agreed to buy Pogba a year later in 2016.

As a ploy it won a few votes because three years ago Pogba looked like football’s next big thing, ready to leave Serie A and fulfill his potential at a big Spanish or English club.

But there was no pact to buy him in a year, and Barcelona never followed through on their interest.

It was a year later in 2016 that Real Madrid were alerted to his ongoing desire to leave Juventus and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was keen on the signing.

There was a time at which Pogba could have played in midfield for Barca boss Ernesto Valverde
There was a time at which Pogba could have played in midfield for Barca boss Ernesto Valverde

There was a time at which Pogba could have played in midfield for Barca boss Ernesto Valverde

Josep Bartomeu used interest in Pogba to gain votes during the 2015 presidential election
Josep Bartomeu used interest in Pogba to gain votes during the 2015 presidential election

Josep Bartomeu used interest in Pogba to gain votes during the 2015 presidential election

But Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has never had a very good relationship with Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola, never bought a player from him, and was not totally enamoured with Pogba either.

There was some interest but as soon as Manchester United joined the bidding and it became clear it could cost well over £100m to sign him, that his agent’s cut would be record-breaking, and that his wages would dwarf those of his new team-mates, Madrid decided not to pursue any deal.

Two years on from Madrid’s interest and three years on from Barcelona’s interest little has changed.

Pogba is still represented by Raiola. He would still want his Manchester United wages matched at Madrid, his transfer fee would still be high, and his representative would also be looking for another big percentage.

There have always been issues between Real Madrid and Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola
There have always been issues between Real Madrid and Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola

There have always been issues between Real Madrid and Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola

Zidane’s interest remains and if he wins a third straight Champions League then he may well have a freer-reign in the transfer market than ever before. But it still looks unlikely Madrid would move for Pogba.

The poor relationship with Raiola goes back a long way. A year earlier when the talk was of that Barcelona switch, 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.’

Zinedine Zidane is interested in Pogba  and Real could sign him if he has a good World Cup
Zinedine Zidane is interested in Pogba  and Real could sign him if he has a good World Cup

Zinedine Zidane is interested in Pogba and Real could sign him if he has a good World Cup

A year earlier James Rodriguez had been bought by Real Madrid on the strength of his World Cup wonder goal for Colombia against Uruguay. Raiola added: ‘Madrid is a club that buys a player just because he plays six games well in the World Cup.’

The bad feeling doesn’t make the move impossible and an incredible World Cup from Pogba might change things but it looks unlikely.

But the other major obstacle would the financial one. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have new stadiums projects to finance, and so far neither has found a naming sponsor sugar daddy.

Madrid would somehow find the money if it meant getting Neymar but entering a bidding war with, for example, Paris Saint-Germain for Pogba appeals to them far less.

But both clubs have stadium projects to finance and Pogba is low on their list of priorities
But both clubs have stadium projects to finance and Pogba is low on their list of priorities

But both clubs have stadium projects to finance and Pogba is low on their list of priorities

 

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