Manchester United insist that midfielder Paul Pogba is not for sale despite the Frenchman's public admission over the weekend that he is looking for a "new challenge" this summer.
Pogba joined United three seasons ago, but has been the subject of intense interest from Real Madrid and Juventus in recent weeks. The Italian champions have held meetings about potentially signing the player, while Zinedine Zidane, Los Blancos' coach, has revealed publicly that he would like to sign Pogba on more than one occasion.
Manchester United expect Paul Pogba to remain at Old Trafford next season and Ole Gunnar Solskjær sees him as a key part of his first team plans, Sky Sports News understands— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 17, 2019
Real Madrid have already spent around
Both Madrid and Juve, however, have been put off by United's demands. The public stance from United is that Pogba is not for sale, however it's reported by the Mail that a "gargantuan" offer - perhaps in the region of £150m - would be enough to make them consider a sale.
#PogDaily | Real Madrid don't want to offer more than €120m to acquire Paul Pogba from Manchester United this summer, according to L'Équipe.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) June 17, 2019
The problem is, neither club can afford that type of money. Real are not looking to pay any more than
Instead, were they to sell, United are expected to demand a full cash payment which they'd then reinvest. Eriksen was tipped as one option on United's radar, but journalist Tom McDermott reports that the player and his entourage have rejected the suggestion - with the Dane himself holding out for a move abroad.
United, however, are reported in Spain on Monday morning to be monitoring Barcelona pairing Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Mundo Deportivo suggest that United have known for months about Pogba's plans to leave, and they have already been preparing for it. Coutinho has already let his Barcelona teammates know that he wishes to go, but his ties to Liverpool - who he left to move to Spain - make a potential deal controversial to say the least.
Rakitic, meanwhile, has always retained that he wishes to stay. He's also a favourite of Ernesto Valverde, the Barça coach, though people above him within the club would consider a sale.
Other players have been linked with United - we're probably up within the thousands since the end of the season now, to be honest - but the sale of Pogba (and the money to come from it) would surely leave United with three midfielders to sign - Ander Herrera has already departed and United wanted a midfielder even before then, remember - prior to the window closing on August 8.
Pogba, though, has made his stance clear, saying in Japan on Sunday:
“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well...I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else.”