It’s the summer saga that has more twists and turns than an episode of Sherlock, with Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta now claiming that the Italian club has still had no contact from Manchester United over a potential world record transfer.
That’s despite wide ranging, independently sourced media reports on Wednesday claiming that the deal to seal a return to Old Trafford for the Frenchman is almost complete.
There remains some discrepancy in the exact stage of proceedings but the general consensus appeared to very much be that this is definitely happening. For example, the Guardian claims that United made a second offer worth £92m on Wednesday after seeing a first bid rejected.
The Daily Mail had earlier reported that personal terms were agreed with the player over a five-year contract worth £220,000-per-week, while L’Equipe later added that Juventus had accepted Pogba’s request to join United and United’s acceptance of the fee they must pay.
The Manchester Evening News now also carries information that United were targeting Pogba’s Juve team-mate Stefano Sturaro in the event that a deal could not be completed, but have dropped all interest in the Italian international.
Sources in Italy, notably Gianluca Di Marzio, claimed late on Wednesday night that Real Madrid were suddenly back in the race. The Italian reporter suggested that Los Blancos have made a last ditch attempt to steal in, although it is suggested that things with United were too far advanced and that the player has already made up his mind.
All of that has been thrown into doubt, at least partially, after Marotta’s comments to SportItalia. He spoke to the Italian outlet last week when he insisted that he had had no contact with United over Pogba and now insists that nothing has changed in the six days since.
“There is no contact with Manchester United for Pogba,” he is quoted as saying. “The situation is no different to when I last spoke to you on Friday.”
It’s difficult to know what to think at this stage. Whether Marotta specifically means himself personally – United appear to have been using agent Mino Raiola as a go-between – or if he’s simply trying to delay proceedings as Juve consider how best to justify the sale to their fans, or save face in a public sphere remains to be seen.
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