Manchester United turned down four different Juventus players last summer as the Serie A giants pursued a transfer deal for Paul Pogba.
The France international is still looking likely to head for the Old Trafford exit door this summer, but much will depend on Man Utd’s willingness to accept a lower price tag or players in return in the deal.
That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, who told CaughtOffside that United were not keen on a swap deal last summer, turning down Miralem Pjanic, Aaron Ramsey, Douglas Costa and Adrien Rabiot in exchange for Pogba.
Romano says, however, that Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is planning for his client to move on at the end of this season, though this has not affected the player’s form as he assured manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he would not stop being fully professional for the club while he’s still here.
“At the moment (a move away) is still the most likely because Mino Raiola was planning to move Paul Pogba next summer, as he mentioned in November,” Romano told CaughtOffside.
“He’s still planning to move Paul Pogba next summer to another club. His plan is to find a solution. It’s open. Even after Raiola spoke, Pogba started to show his best form for Manchester United.
“It’s a strange situation, but he’s been a great professional. The day after the words from Raiola he spoke with Solskjaer and told him ‘I will be the best professional as always, don’t worry, nothing’s going to change’. Who knows in football? If no one is paying what Manchester United want, why not (stay), but at the moment the plan is for him to change club.”
He added: “The most interesting thing to see next summer about Pogba will be the price of the player, just because he’ll have just one year left on his contract and Manchester United already made one big mistake with Pogba, losing him for free when he was 18 or 19 and joined Juventus.
“They’ve always been asking for €100m. Also last summer when Juventus were proposing a possible swap deal, including different players – Douglas Costa, Miralem Pjanic, Adrien Rabiot Aaron Ramsey – United always said ‘no, we don’t want swap deals, we want money’. That’s the situation, but let’s see if next summer Manchester United will be open to swap deals and let’s see what will be the price for the player.
“To pay €100m for a player with one year left on his contract is not so easy. Everything is open, and the plan for Mino Raiola is to change.”
Another player likely to attract interest this summer is Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, who could indeed be an ideal Pogba replacement at United if the 27-year-old does end up leaving.
Romano says, however, that Man City could also be suitors for Grealish, though the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic could affect top clubs’ ability to splash the cash on multiple big names in one summer.
“For sure many clubs are following him. We mentioned Manchester United, but also City and many other clubs. He’s an amazing player so it’s normal that you have a lot of clubs,” Romano said.
“At the moment Aston Villa people are saying there’s nothing advanced with any other clubs. With Manchester United it will depend on the situation with the pandemic. If again we can’t have people in stadiums, with clubs losing a lot of money … It’s a huge problem, so signing two big players like Sancho and Grealish would be really difficult, not just for Manchester United but others as well.
“Let’s hope the situation changes with fans in stadiums and a return to normality in football. If not, I don’t see big clubs moving for top targets for more than €100million.”