Multiple reports late last night more or less confirmed that Manchester City are considering signing Paul Pogba on a free transfer once his Manchester United contract expires this summer, with the Frenchman having no intention of extending his stay at Old Trafford.
With a move for Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund all but agreed and Julian Alvarez signed from River Plate in the winter for the upcoming season to resolve the void at centre-forward, City are keen to sign a midfielder to replace outgoing club captain Fernandinho.
Sami Mokbel and Mike Keegan of the Daily Mail exclusively revealed that the Blues are exploring the option of signing Pogba ahead of next season, with the senior France international among a list of candidates identified for the versatile central midfield role that Pep Guardiola would like to fill following Fernandinho's likely departure.
The journalists note of interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, who could be seen as to having an advantage over the Premier League champions in landing the player – owing to transfer regulations preventing City from tabling a formal offer until the end of the season, while overseas clubs have had the chance since the beginning of the year. However, City are said to have the financial muscle to table a considerable offer for the former Juve man, who is understood to earn a healthy amount at his current employer.
Given Pogba's United links, the seemingly biggest obstacle to a deal would be the cross-Manchester switch of allegiances, but the Daily Mail report that early indications suggest the midfielder would not dismiss the prospect of playing for the Blues.
Will Unwin for the Guardian was next to report on the potential transfer, revealing that City are willing to offer the 29-year-old a four-year contract, with an option for a further year – while the player would accept lower wages than he currently earns.
According to Unwin, Pogba is interested in working with Guardiola, who is said to believe that the predominantly attacking midfielder could operate in a deeper role. The Guardian also cite Paris Saint-Germain as an interested party.
Martin Blackburn of The Sun – a reputable City journalist – was next to issue an update on the mooted transfer, reporting that PSG and Juventus remain the most likely destination for the 2018 World Cup winner but that Guardiola's side have asked to be kept informed on his situation in the coming weeks. City have reportedly not completely ruled out making a move for the player.
Blackburn writes that Pogba would demand a sizeable signing-on fee with wages in excess of those he earns on the red side of Manchester, which would oppose suggestions made by Unwin in the Guardian. Blackburn notes of a basic salary figure of £165,000 per week excluding bonuses, while the Daily Mail have the sum at around £290,000 – although, it is not clear whether the Mail's figure includes bonuses.
Paul Hirst and Pol Ballus in The Times – also reputable City journalists – would be the next to provide information, disclosing that there is a feeling in some quarters within the club that Pogba would be a good signing, with the current English champions to assess their midfield shortlist of five to ten names at the end of the season.
The Times pair report that City are yet to decide who their preferred dynamic box-to-box midfield candidate is, with interest held in Pogba, as well as Barcelona's Frenkie De Jong and West Ham's Declan Rice. However, the Hammers' exorbitant £150million price tag is proving prohibitive, according to the report.
Recently, the club distanced themselves from transfer speculation involving the England international by briefing that they had no interest in signing the player in the upcoming window.
Dutch international De Jong will reportedly be available for a fee in the region of £60million, with Barcelona seemingly happy to cash in providing a satisfactory offer is made. City were strongly interested in the player before he joined the Blaugrana from Ajax three years ago – and are understood to have maintained that interest as they pursue a high-quality midfielder ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Based on reports in recent hours, Pogba is clearly a name under consideration for that soon to be vacant dynamic, versatile midfielder role, and he would not be opposed to lining up at the Etihad next season. However, he will not be short of offers from across Europe, so will have to want to join City above them and agree on mutually beneficial terms – should the club come to the decision that he is the man to fill the void.
Should Pogba switch his allegiances to the blue side of Manchester, it would represent a seismic transfer not seen in the Premier League since a certain Carlos Tevez did exactly the same thing in 2009.
Written by: @NA1907_
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