Pog bye? | 

Rumours swirl over Paul Pogba at Manchester United as Raphael Varane deal edges closer

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba (Amazon handout/PA)

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba (Amazon handout/PA)

Kevin Palmer

Once again, the rumours are swirling around Paul Pogba.

With just one year left on his Manchester United contract, this was always going to be the summer when a decision needed to be made over what happened next for the 28-year-old Frenchman and it seems increasingly likely that he may be on his way out of the Old Trafford.

Paris Saint-Germain are widely reported to be preparing a bid to sign Pogba, with a cut-price deal of €50million being mentioned in France due to the limited time left on the player's contract.

While United will doubtless be eager to demand more for one of their marquee players, few will be surprised if a midfielder who has struggled to live up to his billing since he return to United for a second spell in 2016 leaves now.

Pogba's injury problems and lack of consistency when he did play was a constant source of discussion throughout last season, with United legends Gary Neville and Roy Keane among those expecting the player to leave this summer.

Real Madrid has long appeared to be his club of choice, but the financial pressures on the Spanish giants after the global pandemic appears to have ended that ambition for now, meaning a return to France with PSG is now looking most likely.

Qatari-backed PSG are one of the few clubs in world football that could finance a huge deal that will also include lavish agents fees for Mino Raiola and a hefty signing on fee given what may be a reduced fee for Pogba.

Reports in France suggest Raiola is already discussing personal terms with PSG over the transfer, with United certain to be open to a sale if they are not expecting one of their most valuable assets to sign a new contract.

If Pogba were to leave United now, his legacy would be less than golden and yet former United striker Andy Cole believes he is judged differently to most players.

"People expect too much from Paul Pogba and the criticism he gets is unfair," Cole told sundayworld.com at a BT Sport event. "I'm one of his biggest fans and I think he is world-class, without a doubt, but when he has a bad game, or doesn't play at his best for a few weeks, everyone is on him.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

"Maybe he hasn't always been played in the right position at United because you look at how he played when he was at Juventus. And when he's in the France team, he looks fantastic.

"The disappointment for him at United has been that he came back to try and push the team closer to winning the Premier League title again, and that hasn't happened.

"Whether he stays at United for next season remains to be seen. Maybe the decision has already been made, but I think it will be a shame if he leaves and doesn't achieve what he set out to do at United.

"I don't think people understand how tough it is to play at the top of your game every week. You try to peak for big matches, but it's not always easy to do that. For me, Pogba is world class and I will argue with anyone who says the opposite."

Selling Pogba would lighten United's hefty wages bill and might explain why they are being so bold in their summer transfer activity.

Jadon Sancho will sign from Borussia Dortmund and confirmation on that deal will arrive when the player returns from his post Euro 2020 holiday.

Meanwhile, United are negotiating with Real Madrid over a deal to sign France defender Raphael Varane, with the player keen to make the move to Old Trafford.

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