Exclusive - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has made it clear to the club that he wants to re-sign Paul Pogba, who has entered the final year of his contract at Manchester United.
Pogba spent four successful years at Juventus earlier in his career after leaving Old Trafford the first time, with the final two of those spent working under Allegri. The Frenchman was very settled in Turin but an £89m transfer saw him return to Manchester to address unfinished some business there.
Five years on and Pogba’s second spell at United has been a mixed bag. He has often been the club’s best player during that time, but the success he would have hoped for has not yet come.
The 28-year-old underlined his status as one of the world’s best midfielders at Euro 2020, despite France’s shock early exit. He has been approached by United officials to open new talks about a new contract and his agent, Mino Raiola, has engaged with the club.
However, 90min understands that the United hierarchy are split over how to proceed. Some club officials want him to sign a new contract, conscious of the fact that he could potentially leave as a free agent for a second time next summer. But a new deal is likely to make him the club’s highest paid player at £400,000 per week, and there are doubts whether he should be retained at that cost.
Pogba himself is intrigued by what the next 12 months will hold. His contract situation as it stands means he could sign a pre-contract with a new club ahead of a free transfer next summer as early as January, while there is also a limit to the price that United could now ask for him.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is open to Pogba staying, although some consider the 2020 arrival of Bruno Fernandes and this summer’s capture of Jadon Sancho to be an early sign that the Norwegian is already planning for life without the number six.
Real Madrid are still interested in Pogba, but the Spanish giants also hold strong interest in fellow countryman Kylian Mbappe - even though there remain doubts over their financial muscle at this time.
In Italy, Allegri, having return to Juventus this summer, is keen to work with Pogba again and believes he could bring the best out of the 2018 World Cup winner. 90min can reveal that Juve will offer Pogba the chance to re-join them and have made his representatives aware of their interest.
Exactly how that would work could be complicated, but 90min understands that intermediaries have proposed a swap deal that would see Cristiano Ronaldo make a sensational return to United. Neither club has officially discussed that option, but those close to each player have also not ruled it out.
Juve are keen on Pogba but it remains to be seen whether United would be interested in Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is one of the club’s all-time great players and still a fan favourite, even 12 years after he left, but he will turn 37 in February and could only ever be a short-term asset.