United ready to replace Pogba with Grealish and Maddison - Paper Round
Manchester United will sell Paul Pogba and buy James Maddison and Jack Grealish, while Manchester City's Champions League ban fallout continues.
United line up Pogba replacements
Manchester United are ready to sell Paul Pogba, and they have two players lined up as a replacement. The Mirror writes that United will accept bids of £130 million for the 26-year-old midfielder, with Real Madrid and Juventus leading the chase. In his place could arrive Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, and Leicester City playmaker James Maddison.
Paper Round’s view: Pogba has underperformed for United and would be happier elsewhere. Buying one or both of Maddison and Grealish would refocus United’s strategy of buying younger, British talent who are less likely to agitate for a move away in tougher times. Whether they are good enough to get the club back into the top four is yet to be demonstrated.
Man City players could walk away, Real Madrid target Sterling
Paper Round’s view: To take such drastic action would doubtless invite months if not years of legal distraction and arguments, and any clubs who take on the players would also potentially be a target of legal action from City. In addition, it might be that footballing governing bodies ultimately side with the Manchester City over any abandoned contracts, so anybody making such a move would be either brave or foolish.
Raiola: Pogba could leave
In perhaps unsurprising news, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba would consider leaving the club, according to his agent Mino Raiola. The Daily Mail carries quotes from the French World Cup winner’s representative, saying: “He never lost his smile, but clearly a great player doesn't go to Manchester United only to not challenge for the Champions League or the Premier League title. It would be bull for me not to admit Paul wants to stay at the highest level. 'But Pogba will first and foremost try to give his best and then we'll see at the end of the season if he ought to remain or not.”
Paper Round’s view: Pogba clearly needs to move on in the summer, because the chances of him being reinvigorated at Old Trafford seem slim. Regardless of his poor performances over the last few years, he undoubtedly expected that the club would not have been mismanaged quite so badly.
Clubs concern over Manchester City chaos
Rival Premier League clubs are concerned that they will be drawn into the chaos caused by Manchester City’s Champions League ban. The Telegraph believes that clubs are worried about the late notice of any potential final decision, with one executive saying: "it leaves us in a grey area - it's of little comfort for us that we could become collateral damage in this."
Paper Round’s view: Given the amount of money that City are said to be ready to throw at the case in order to fight their corner, it is perhaps optimistic to think that any ban will be enforced swiftly. If that is the case, it is hard to see how the fifth-placed side come May could adequately prepare for the next season, not knowing if they can count on Champions League revenue.