Paul Pogba has got one year left on his contract. In the next six months’ time as mentioned in an earlier article by one of my colleagues, Pogba could be discussing his final terms with another club. Things have started to look different with each and every day moving forward. Through this piece, allow me to explain each and every possibility that could happen, with the help of some of the latest reports from reliable outlets across Europe. So let’s get this off to a start then.
Manchester United wants to extend Paul Pogba’s contract
Yes. You heard it right. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees Paul Pogba as a pivotal part of his ongoing breathtaking project to bring the club back to its title-winning ways after suffering four years without a trophy and nine years without a Premier League title.
Pogba was brought into the club under Mourinho’s reign as the poster boy who would lead United back to its winning ways. But things didn’t work well between both the player and manager.
His agent Mino Raiola and his brothers seemed to be waiting for the next international break to vent out their frustrations on how the player would love to join another club to achieve bigger things. I can definitely understand the reasons why his entourage keeps on regurgitating the player’s intentions whenever they get the opportunity to state it in an interview.
Pogba is a very ambitious player. Like every player and upcoming football fan, his biggest aim is to win major honors for the club. His baggage has become even bigger after helping Les Bleus towards the FIFA World Cup victory in 2018.
Manchester United can move confidently with a strong desire into next season if they manage to keep a high-quality player like him at the club. Simon Stone from BBC Sport said in his latest transfer-related column that the 28-year old midfielder held talks with United over extending his contract that expires in 2022. The player will expect a significant pay rise if he does so.
Also, Laurie Whitwell from The Athletic had given a similar view about the ongoing negotiations. Dharmesh Sheth from Sky Sports News stated that Pogba will assess all options on the table before making his decision on a potential last big contract at the club.
We have been hearing for quite some time from local newspaper Manchester Evening News that new signings in midfield, especially a well-established CDM or a CM could be contingent on what happens with Paul Pogba.
Although reports from Fabrizio Romano and several other outlets say that United is now considering Eduardo Camavinga as a priority in midfield, Romano also reiterates that both Pogba and Camavinga’s futures are not linked with each other.
Difficulties encountered in ongoing negotiations over a new contract
Things start to look more interesting from here. Mino Raiola pocketed over €20m from Donnarumma’s sale to PSG. Similarly, Raiola would like to get a good agency fee from Pogba’s sale. This is the first sticking point. The latest contract extension will demand such an amount as commission. United will be wary of caving into Raiola’s demands after some previous bad experiences.
Secondly, as per the data from Football Leaks 2019 posted as a thread by Paddy Keogh on Twitter, Pogba earns around 310k per week net as his wages. This includes his basic wages, loyalty bonus, UCL bonus, and 20% of the player’s image rights(around 57k per week).
As per L’Equipe, United managed to keep 80% of Pogbas’s image rights after concluding the deal with Juventus in 2016. It was understood that the club was able to recuperate a significant portion of its investment through this package. The 20% of the image rights owned by the player was worth around €7m/year.
It is almost certain that Raiola will look to improve the player’s contractual terms on a significant level. This might even include the ownership of a major percent of the image rights that United owns. The club would be unwilling to grant such promises along with an increase in basic wages to up to 400k per week. The addition of the image rights over the wages will make the gross salary astronomical(about 900k per week) for the club to manage after taking credit-facility from Bank of America last year to manage operational costs of the club due to the lack of gateway receipts after feeling the absence of fans at Old Trafford due to the pandemic.
PSG seriously considering a move for Paul Pogba
Before the summer window opened, uncertainties regarding Pogba’s future started creeping up. Clubs such as Real Madrid and Juventus were initially thought of as the future destination for Paul Pogba. But the collapse of the European Super League headed by Fiorentino Perez lead to a change in scenery with regards to transfers that were meant to happen this window.
It was Santi Aouna from Footmercato who broke the news in early March regarding PSG‘s interest in signing Paul Pogba this summer. As per his report, Sporting Director Leonardo had made direct contacts with Mino Raiola to enquire regarding Pogba’s next move. Through some recurrent phone calls that happened for weeks between the agent and the Sporting Director, Pogba was quite impressed by the interest shown by former Ligue 1 winners.
Now, Julien Laurens from ESPN has reported about PSG considering a move for Paul Pogba as his contract is ending in twelve months’ time. He also added that Pogba is yet to discuss a new deal with Manchester United formally and is interested in the project offered by PSG.
Along with this, Mohamed Bouhafsi from RMC Sport had given clear indications that there was a dilemma at PSG if he should be signed this summer or on free next summer. He had also reported early in June that PSG had asked Raiola for further details regarding Pogba while they were trying to sort out Donnarumma’s terms.
The estimated price at which PSG could attain Pogba’s service from United is in the range of €50-60m as per L’Equipe. An Italian newspaper named La Gazzetta Dello Sport claimed that in the last few hours, the interest was becoming more and more concrete from PSG. This paper has close ties with Mino Raiola and his agency as they have done multiple interviews and exclusives for Mino’s clients.
PSG need to sell before making another big investment
Like every other club in Europe, PSG is no exception when it comes to maintaining their books and balancing player wages as per regulations. Before moving towards a potential bid for Paul Pogba, the club will have to assess their player registrations in the right manner. After the purchase of Wijnaldum, PSG is now having a packed midfield containing Verrati, Paredes, Sarabia, Danilo, Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, Xavi Simons, Rafinha, and many more.
PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi has privately indicated to sources close to the club that PSG is planning to make sales in the region of €150m which looks almost impossible unless they foresee the sale of Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid.
But as per L’Equipe via GFFN, the club is focused on getting the Pogba deal over the line bearing in mind the necessity to sell. Leonardo has a very close relationship with Mino Raiola and the agent himself sees the club as the next-generation hub for his clients. Currently, PSG is one of the top European clubs holding most of Raiola’s younger clients like Xavi Simons and Mitchel Bakker.
The pandemic has led to the relaxation of FFP. But that doesn’t mean player wages don’t have any substantial limits when it comes to managing the club’s financial accounts. Since PSG plays in Ligue 1, they are strongly monitored by their prodigious financial regulators known as the National Directorate of Management Control a.k.a DNCG. They are mainly responsible for monitoring and overseeing the accounts of professional association football clubs in France. There are about 44 member clubs from the French league federation scrutinized under these watchdogs.
If PSG doesn’t sell two or three of their core players earning high wages at the club, punishments in the form of Champions League bans, transfer embargoes or points deductions will be enforced upon them for breaching rules under this federation’s authority like they did with Angers, Bordeaux and RC Lens.
Regulations have held a strong ground after the collapse of a four-year TV rights deal that would’ve been worth around €790m annually across Ligue 1. Canal+, a French TV station, is trying to take legal action against Ligue 1 for not allowing them to submit a new bid, and their fees were inflated by Mediapro’s original offer which eventually drove the financial offerings of broadcasters towards an ongoing mess.
But PSG is quite relaxed about these regulations as they had passed the previous examinations conducted by DNCG with flying colors as per Foot-national. Meanwhile, Julien Laurens from ESPN has reported the fact that PSG is trying to sell Sarabia, Paredes, or Herrera to clear off their wages from the books. As per L’Equipe and Canal+, Thilo Kehrer, Areola, and Rafinha have strong admirers in Spain and are thought to be sellable assets for the club.
What could be the final verdict?
As things stand, publicly we are being given strong indications from English media that Manchester United wants to keep Paul Pogba due to the number of returns that they get from this kind of a player and the immense quality he brings to this team. But the sticking point will definitely be his increased basic wage as well as the outcome of image rights ownership.
Personally, I’m feeling less confident about Pogba staying at the club due to his demands and genuine interest to try out a new project like PSG. Hopefully, in the coming weeks after his holiday period and towards the start of pre-season, talks should accelerate if United’s recruitment department has the complete determination to sort out the player’s future.