Paul Pogba’s dream move to Real Madrid is looking less and less likely as the Spaniards turn their attentions to alternative midfielders.
It has been a badly kept secret for some time that the Manchester United midfielder is unhappy at Old Trafford and wants a move to the Bernabeu, where he would join his countryman and friend Zinedine Zidane, head coach of the Spanish side.
Real were reported to have bid £40 million plus James Rodriguez for Pogba last summer, a deal United rejected out of hand.
The Red Devils’ asking price has been reported to be between £150 and £180 million but it is widely recognised that this is way above the Frenchman’s true value. With the coronavirus crisis impacting football’s finances even further, Transfermarkt now report Pogba’s market value to be just £69 million.
Although there have been reports that United would be willing to soften their stance on their initial figure, the two sides remain poles apart in their valuations. There is also the issue of the Frenchman’s salary demands. AS claims that ‘Pogba’s salary is regarded as one of the negative aspects of any potential deal and moving on his current wage would see him move to the top of the big earners list at the club, leapfrogging both Ramos and Bale who currently pocket 14.5 million euro per season.’
All in all, it would appear that los Merengues have given up the chase and are lining up alternatives to the 27-year-old.
The main name in the frame now would appear to be Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga, who has also been linked with the Red Devils. The 17-year-old is arguably the best player in the world in his age group and whilst he is more of a defensive midfielder than Pogba, he could represent significantly better value for money for los Blancos at around £43 million.
AS reports that ‘Camavinga is another player admired by Zidane and the coach sees the 17-year-old as a player destined to leave his mark on the game in the future.’
‘A conversation between Zidane and the footballer’s entourage would be enough for Camavinga to give priority to Madrid.’
‘The signing of Camavinga is considered feasible and appropriate.’
‘Camavinga aspires to be the new Pogba.’
Another option being considered is Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz. AS notes that ‘Fabián is the candidate that has the support of the Real Madrid hierarchy as they see the Spaniard as the perfect successor to Isco, and that his time in Serie A with Napoli has improved his all round game.’
Ajax’s Donny Van de Beek is also waiting in the wings and there were reports of an agreement for a summer move having been put in place in January – although these have been played down by the player himself.
There is also Martin Odegaard to consider. The Norwegian will return to the Bernabeu this summer after an impressive loan season at Real Sociedad and will add another dimension to a midfield that has already seen Federico Valverde excel this term and convince Zidane that he deserves a place in the starting lineup.