The football world was sent into a frenzy in the summer of 2016, when it was revealed that Paul Pogba would be making his much-anticipated return to Manchester United.
The French midfielder departed Old Trafford for Juventus in 2012, but after making a name for himself in the Italian Serie A, the Red Devils splashed a then world-record fee of $89 million to bring him back to Manchester.
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Pogba since he re-joined Man United. He has often been on the receiving end of fierce criticism from both pundits and the Red Devils’ faithful for poor performances and talk of a second move away from the Theatre of Dreams always seems to be on the horizon.
And, that seems all the more likely now that the 27-year-old’s agent Mino Raiola, who is never one to keep his mouth shut, has claimed that Pogba is ‘unhappy’ at Man United and ‘has to change teams’, which could be as early as the upcoming January transfer window!
“Paul is unhappy. He is no longer able to express himself as he would like and as expected of him,” the super-agent said.
"He has to change teams; he has to change the air. He has a contract that will expire in a year and a half, but I think the best solution for the parties is to sell him in the next market."
Last month, France manager Didier Deschamps also claimed that Pogba ‘is in a situation with his club where he cannot be happy.’
It comes after the midfielder made just 22 appearances across all competitions last season – missing large parts through injury – whilst this term he has been restricted to mainly substitute cameos, despite being back to full fitness.
Pogba started, and scored, in the recent 3-1 win over West Ham at the London Stadium, but that was the first time he has been in the starting XI, which was heavily rotated by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær, since the defeat to Arsenal back at the beginning of November.
So, what is next for the French midfielder? Well, with just a year and a half left on his contract, the Red Devils chiefs might want to cash in on him sooner rather than later, as the more time runs out, the more they risk losing him at a cut price or even for free.
In the past, Pogba has made his admiration of Spanish giants Real Madrid clear, revealing ‘it is a dream for me, why not one day?’ when asked if he would like to play for Los Blancos, whilst Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who knows Pogba on a personal level, has also claimed he would like to have the midfielder at the iconic Santiago Bernabéu.
That’s why, if you were to check the online betting pages, you would see that the 13-time Champions League winners as the firm favourites to land the Frenchman’s signature.
It is then Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain who are next in line to sign Pogba at 5/1. The midfielder was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, which is just 16 miles from the centre of Paris, and the chance to move back to his homeland might just be a deciding factor for the 27-year-old, whilst for PSG, Pogba could be the missing part to their jigsaw as they still seek that inaugural Champions League trophy after last season’s crushing defeat to Bayern Munich.
A return to the Old Lady is a little further out at 11/2 while Barcelona (9/1), Inter Milan (19/1) and Bayern Munich (20/1) could also be in the running.
Whether or not Manchester United would let a player of Pogba’s ability leave halfway through the season remains to be seen, but it does seem like the clock is ticking on his second spell at Old Trafford, and this summer, when there’s just one year remaining on his contract, we might just see the back of the midfielder – much to the delight of Graeme Souness!
Paul Pogba next club odds
Real Madrid – 11/4
PSG – 5/1
Juventus – 11/2
Barcelona – 9/1
Inter Milan – 19/1
Bayern Munich – 20/1
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.