6 Potential Paul Pogba Alternatives for Manchester United
Manchester United are eager to re-sign Paul Pogba from Juventus – potentially for a world-record fee – but the player, as reported by The Guardian, is said to favour a move to Real Madrid, despite their reluctance to sanction a big-money fee.
The player’s representative even went as far as to suggest that the French international may yet prolong his stay with the Old Lady.
With that in mind, here are six players that could be alternative signings to the Frenchman for the Red Devils.
1. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Ironically, Toni Kroos may only become available for transfer should Real Madrid successfully acquire Paul Pogba. However, the German play-maker would be an excellent consolation prize.
His range of passing and shooting is a joy to watch and he sets the tone and tempo for his teammates. However, it would likely take a massive financial bid to tempt the 26-year-old away from the European champions – not too dissimilar to the bid made for Pogba.
2. Marco Verratti (PSG)
Despite missing the Euro 2016 tournament for Italy with a groin injury, Marco Verratti had another impressive campaign for the Parisian side. He makes up for his diminutive 5ft 5in frame with his remarkable coolness under pressure and ability to spot passes that others can’t see.
PSG are unlikely to countenance selling their 23-year-old unless a massive offer is made, as their recent signing of Grzegorz Krychowiak from Sevilla was most likely made to compliment Verratti and not replace him.
3. Blaise Matuidi (PSG)
The Frenchman is one of the most complete central midfielders in Europe. His athleticism is matched by his seemingly unending energy and when playing he helps to carry the ball from his side’s box to the opposition’s.
Less lethal than Pogba in the final third, Blaise Matuidi would still be an excellent addition for United, though at 29 he would offer little re-sale value. He was also extensively scouted by Phil Neville under the ill-fated reign of David Moyes.
4. Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)
A firm Mourinho favourite at Stamford Bridge, Nemanja Matic would add some physicality into midfield. In Chelsea’s most recent title-winning campaign, he was an immense shield in front of his defence, though in the 15/16 season he, as with most players at the club, he wilted.
A deal between the Premier League rivals would be complex, especially with Mourinho’s recent history there. However, incoming manager Antonio Conte is a known admirer of United defender Matteo Darmian and a compromise has been rumoured.
The Serbian’s arrival would surely spell the end for Morgan Schneiderlin, who has been linked with a move to Everton.
5. N’Golo Kante (Leicester City)
N’Golo Kante proved himself to be one of the biggest Premier League bargains of all-time after arriving at Leicester for £5.6m last summer. His ball retention, energy and passing was a key feature as the club won their first Premier League title.
He is said to have a release clause of around £20m, though would be an improvement of any midfielder that Jose Mourinho has at his disposal currently. Value-wise, if Pogba can not be bought then Kante would be an ideal and cheaper addition.
6. Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid)
The 21-year-old rose to fame after his spectacular solo goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and he again impressed in the final against Real Madrid.
He has numerous elements to his game, and is still young enough to develop his vast potential. Signing Saul from Atletico would not be straightforward, though the club always seems to sell players for the right price.
The original version of this story which was published by 90min.com Serie A can be viewed here.
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