Gossip: Why Man United will keep ‘poster boy’ Pogba

Matt Stead

THE WHOLE POG
Earlier this month it was less a case of ‘if’ Paul Pogba would leave Manchester United, more ‘when’ and ‘who for’. The Frenchman has been phoned by Neymar over a move to PSG, and has reportedly decided he wants to leave – probably for Barcelona – in January.

The chances of such a move are minuscule. According to the Daily Mail, United are ‘under significant commercial pressure’ to keep him, and as we know, Ed Woodward tends to get his way. The fear of ‘a huge financial blow’ will likely see Pogba stay.

United have ‘considered potential replacements’ for the midfielder, but none are ‘realistic’. They would have to spend more than £100million, and precious few players have a ‘similar profile’ in terms of marketing. He is their ‘poster boy’, integral to their ‘highly lucrative worldwide marketing and commercial programme’, and letting him go would have ‘potentially damaging financial implications’.

The Mail name just one player who could possibly fill the void Pogba would leave. Gareth Bale could ‘take on’ that ‘mantle’, with his affiliation with Adidas – as with Pogba – appealing. It ‘would allow for easier synergy…in terms of commercial activity.’

Eurgh.

But United believe they ‘may have missed their chance’ with regards to signing Bale, and so it seems almost certain Pogba will stay. Not because he’s good at football or anything, but because he’s really bloody marketable.


LEFT-BACK MERRY-GO-ROUND
There was a time when United might have been a bit p*ssed off with Manchester City stealing a march on Alex Sandro, but Luke Shaw’s new contract means they likely don’t give a toss anymore. Which almost certainly won’t stop some describing this as a ‘transfer blow’ for United.

According to The Sun, City representatives were in attendance at Old Trafford on Tuesday – the poor sods – to watch Alex Sandro. He ‘impressed’ as part of a ‘defensive masterclass’ from Juventus.

United and Chelsea have previously chased Sandro to no avail, but City could finally bring him to the Premier League due to Juve’s own transfer plans. They are ‘hoping’ to reunite Marcelo with Cristiano Ronaldo, thereby becoming their first-choice left-back.

That would leave Sandro discarded (a little harshly), and so City could pounce. Yet Juve would still value him at £50m, which seems a bit much.

 

AND THE REST
Manchester United’s French forward Anthony Martial, 22, is ready to ignore interest from Juventus, Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich to stay at the club…Manchester City want £5m-rated Japanese midfielder Ritsu Doan in January. City have been tracking the 20-year-old at Dutch club Groningen, with Juventus and Atletico Madrid also keen…England U21 goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, 26, is set to sign a new Fulham deal… Chelsea are set to receive a £9.5m payment if Real Madrid appoint Antonio Conte as their new boss…Juventus are set to battle Chelsea for the signing of 18-year-old Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali, who has impressed for Brescia in Serie B this season…Wolves, Leicester City, Southampton and Fulham are all being linked with 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario, who has not played for Inter Milan this season…Wolves are targeting as many as three new players in the January transfer window with manager Nuno Espirito Santo keen to bolster his squad…Nuno Espirito Santo has prioritised the signing of a striker for Wolves in January.