United accept imminent Pogba departure - Paper Round
Manchester United accept Paul Pogba departure but plan Jack Grealish transfer, Atletico Madrid want Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham dealt Harry Kane injury blow. It's Wednesday's Paper Round...
Manchester United accept Pogba departure
It has become widely expected within Manchester United that their record transfer Paul Pogba will depart the club this summer, according to the Mirror. The media outlet believe that the World Cup winner is either looking at a return to Serie A side Juventus or a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has "made it clear his client wants a new challenge", which confirms to the club that their star man will leave at the end of the season. Pogba has only made six starts for United this season and is currently sidelined following surgery on an ankle injury.
Paper Round's view: It wouldn't be a surprise if Pogba left Old Trafford at the end of the season. The Frenchman has struggled to perform at a consistent level following his high-profile return to United back in 2016. Pogba has been under constant scrutiny from the English media, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him depart, especially if clubs like Real Madrid and Juventus are happy to sign him for whatever price United demand. It's looking increasingly likely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are going to miss out on Champions League football once again, so why wouldn't Pogba want to play in Europe's elite competition? Especially if a club that actually has a chance of lifting the trophy comes knocking. The 26-year-old certainly has the quality to star for one of these clubs, he just needs to regain his confidence.
Pogba who? Grealish becomes a 'priority'
Anyways... forget Paul Pogba. The Mirror report that Manchester United have made Aston Villa club captain Jack Grealish their 'priority' as Leicester CIty playmaker and England international James Maddison looks set to sign a contract extension with the Foxes. Villa could be entering troubling times as the Midlands club sit just one point above the relegation zone in the Premier League. United are desperate for a creative midfielder to improve their attacking options and Grealish has impressed this season. The Red Devils could benefit from a potential Villa relegation as it would decrease Grealish's asking price.
Paper Round's view: Jack Grealish is most definitely going to be in demand this summer. It's widely expected that the Villa captain will be called up to the England senior squad for the March international friendlies and he could even play a part in this summer's European Championships if his current form continues. Tottenham held interest in Grealish a couple of seasons ago, but failed to complete a deal. United could do a lot worse than signing Grealish, but Solskjaer could end up paying a huge fee if Villa manage to keep their Premier League status. United fans everywhere will be hoping Aston Villa suffer relegation in order to make any potential deal a lot cheaper than anticipated.
Atleti face battle in poaching Pochettino
Atletico Madrid are reportedly facing a battle to bring in former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as a replacement for Diego Simeone, according to the Telegraph. The 47-year-old has been on the radar for the Spanish club, who could potentially sack Simeone after eight years in charge. 'El Cholo' has struggled this term since losing talisman Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, with Los Colchoneros currently wallowing in sixth place in La Liga. Andrea Berta, Atleti’s director of football, is a "huge admirer" of Poch who was sacked by Spurs back in November, but the Argentine is said to prefer a return to the Premier League. Borussia Dortmund are also interested in the prospect of Pochettino replacing current head coach Lucien Favre.
Paper Round's view: Pochettino will be linked to every single one of Europe's top clubs until he takes a new job. The former Spurs boss is obviously going to be a manager in demand, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him try and make amends in the Premier League. Poch has unfinished business in England and both Manchester clubs could end up making a move for him once this season is over. Solskjaer's job at Old Trafford is far from safe, and if Manchester City fail to win the Champions League, it's likely that Pep Guardiola will walk away from the Etihad Stadium this summer. Pochettino to City could make a lot of sense and it could be perfect formula which could see the Argentine win his first trophy as a manager.
Spurs and England dealt blow with Kane return date
Tottenham are set to be without their star striker Harry Kane until the north London club's final home game of the season, according to the Jose Mourinho. The Telegraph report that the Spurs boss has stated that the earliest date that his forward could return from a torn hamstring injury is May 9th when Spurs host Champions League chasers Leicester City. This would be a disaster for Gareth Southgate and the England national team who are relying on their captain at this summer's European Championships. Mourinho reiterated that the potential problem wouldn't affect him, but instead would be an issue for Three Lions boss Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland.
Paper Round's view: It wouldn't be an understatement to label this potential situation as a disaster for England. The Three Lions are heavily reliant on their captain and will be looking to the World Cup Golden Boot winner to provide most of the goals in their bid to win the European Championships on home soil. England have one of the best opportunities to win a major international trophy this summer, with all three of their group games coming at Wembley, as well as a potential semi-final and final if they were to reach that far in the competition. Having a fully-fit Harry Kane would be vital and a potential return date of May 9 will definitely come as a blow to Southgate and his staff.