Soccer

Manchester United's transfer plan for Paul Pogba after setting asking price

Manchester United privately accept they will have to lower their £75million asking price for Paul Pogba this summer, sources have told Metro.co.uk.

The Frenchman’s agent, Mino Raiola, revealed in December that Pogba is ‘unhappy’ at Old Trafford and wants to leave the club.

Pogba has 18 months to run on his deal at Old Trafford and the midfielder had been keen on extending his contract, with Raiola confirming last summer that he hoped talks would begin imminently over an extension.

However, Metro.co.uk revealed in November that Pogba was aggrieved that United activated a 12-month extension clause in his deal without first discussing a new long-term contract.

With time running down on Pogba’s contract and United unwilling to let him leave this month, the club’s last chance to fetch a respectable fee for the France international will be in the summer transfer window.

United broke the world transfer record to sign Pogba for £89m in 2016 and at 27 the midfielder still has plenty of time left at the peak of his powers.

Despite the financial climate, United hope to recoup much of the money spent on Pogba with sources telling Metro.co.uk that the midfielder is valued at £75m by the club.

Pogba has attracted initial interest from former club Juventus, while Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also possible destinations for the midfielder.

Despite the level of interest in Pogba, there is an acceptance at Old Trafford that United are unlikely to receive bids in the region of their asking price given the Frenchman would be only six months away from being able to sign a pre-contract agreement with his next club.

United are therefore willing to listen to compromise and will consider part-exchange offers that would reduce the overall fee for Pogba in favour of a player moving in the opposite direction.

Paulo Dybala was close to moving to Old Trafford in 2019 but United’s purchase of Bruno Fernandes 12 months ago has ended the club’s interest in the Argentine, while Aaron Ramsey is not considered an option.

Any exchange would have to suit United and Solskjaer is wary of upsetting the environment at Old Trafford with unambitious cast-offs, meaning the club’s preference remains a straight cash deal.

But an exchange offer could be of interest to United as the club feels an increasing squeeze on their finances due to the pandemic.

The club had hoped to welcome supporters back to Old Trafford before Christmas and even in a worst-case scenario felt that their matchday income would return in some capacity by the end of the campaign.

However, it’s unlikely that supporters will return before the end of the season and that’s left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a modest £20m budget to work with in the January window.

The Norwegian would ideally like to sign a commanding centre-back to play alongside Harry Maguire but the club are realistic about their chances of signing such a player this month.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah is set to join Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of around £1.5m after the Dutchman rejected the club’s latest contract proposal.

The defender is out of contract at the end of the season and sought an exit after Solskjaer warned the Dutchman that first team opportunities would be limited even if he signed a new deal.

Solskjaer has been told he can top-up his January budget through player sales but the club are not expecting significant offers for Sergio Romero or Marcos Rojo, who are both available to leave this month.

However, the Argentine pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and the club have told the pair that they will not be handed new deals.

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