Paul Pogba Among Barcelona Targets for Free Transfers Next Summer

Oct 13, 2020, 4:30 PM GMT+1
Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba has spent four full seasons at Manchester United since rejoining the club from Juventus in 2016 | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Barcelona are said to be eyeing a free transfer move for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba next summer.

The Catalan giants have struggled in a number of departments over the past six months and moved to alleviate some of the financial pressure imposed by the coronavirus pandemic by letting some of their top earners - including Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal - leave during the transfer window.

French World Cup winner Pogba rejoined United from Juventus in the summer of 2016 for a world record fee of £89m. In the intervening four years, Pogba has endured a decidedly mixed return to the club he first joined as a teenager and no extension to a deal which expires in June 2021 has been signed.

Paul Pogba
Pogba joined Manchester United's academy aged just 16 and spent three years rising through the ranks before moving to Juventus in 2012 | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

While United have the option of adding another year to Pogba's contract, talk of a new long-term deal was rife as recently as July. These rumours surfaced after the team, with Pogba reinstated in midfield post-lockdown, enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in the second half of the 2019/20 season.

Before this uptick in form, Pogba had spoken openly about leaving United for a 'new challenge' and only added fuel to these rumours when he described playing for Real Madrid as a 'dream' earlier this month.

However, it may be Real's rivals at the top of La Liga who eventually secure Pogba's signature. As Barcelona try to compete with Europe's elite while managing their myriad of financial woes, the Blaugrana are reportedly set to target players in the final year of their contracts, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba in action against Barcelona during the Champions League quarter-finals in 2019 | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Alongside Pogba, the report highlights Bayern Munich's David Alaba as a prime candidate. However, the Catalan giants may face stern competition for the Austria international given Juventus' mounting interest in the fleet-footed defender.

Manchester City's Sergio Agüero, Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik, Paris Saint-Germain's Ángel Di María and even Southampton's Oriol Romeu are also cited as players available for free - not including the inevitably significant signing on fee and agent bonuses - in the summer of 2021.