Since the beginning of the current season there has been rampant speculation regarding the future of French international Paul Pogba. Pogba infamously clashed earlier this season with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, a conflict that ultimately resulted in Mourinho deciding to strip the player of his status as Red Devils vice-captain.
Pogba was essentially exiled from the side by the manager, but he has since rediscovered his footing within the club. Pogba’s resurgence coincides with the club’s decision to part ways with Mourinho in January. United has seen an uptick in form since Mourinho’s dismissal, due in large part to Pogba’s rejuvenated play.
Of course, the Red Devils’ title hopes are essentially non-existent this season after the team dug a deep hole under Mourinho. Even with Pogba’s inspired play, United are up against it.
While the player currently seems pleased with the way things have developed at Old Trafford, there are still murmurs that he could be on his way out at season’s end. However, Pogba’s brother said recently that the player will only leave the Red Devils in order to join either Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Pogba’s brother Florentin told AS that Pogba would have a chance to improve at Manchester City, as well, but that Paul would reject a move to the Etihad if Pep Guardiola came calling. Florentin said, “When my brother eventually leaves Manchester United he can only go to three teams to improve – City, Real Madrid or Barca. He will not go to City, so he will come to Spain, either to Barca or Real Madrid.”
Pogba joined United in the summer of 2016 after a successful spell at Juventus, where he helped the team to the Champions League Final. Pogba moved to United for what was at the time a world-record transfer fee of £89.3 million.
Pogba was linked with a move to Spain over the summer when his drama with Mourinho was seemingly making headlines on a daily basis. Florentin said that both aforementioned Spanish giants showed interest in Pogba when he eventually decided to rejoin Manchester United nearly 3 years ago.
Pogba’s brother added, “When he was at Juve he could have gone to Barca, but he was determined to return to Manchester where he had not succeeded in his first spell. There was also a move by [former Real Madrid coach Zinedine] Zidane, although his desire was to return to England.”
Pogba was exiled to the bench during Mourinho’s final few weeks on the job, but he has since become a regular contributor to the side under Mourinho’s interim replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Pogba has accounted for five goals across his six starts under Solskjaer, and Solskjaer has reportedly told Pogba that he will be considered for potential captaincy duties about four months after having his vice captaincy stripped by the former boss.
Florentin said, “Mourinho’s departure has been key. He wasn’t happy, and you could see that. Now with Solskjaer everything has improved. He knows my brother from the Manchester United reserves.”
At this point, Real Madrid would appear to be a more likely landing spot for Pogba than Barcelona. The defending Spanish champions recently signed young dutch sensation Frenkie de Jong, who will join the Catalan side this summer. De Jong will join a crowded midfield that already includes the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Arthur and a host of others.
Adding Pogba would complicate matters considerably. Real Madrid, however, are still looking for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the club over the summer to join Pogba’s former side, Juventus. Real have struggled considerably in the first season since Ronaldo’s departure, so adding a high-profile impact player of Pogba’s caliber this summer would make plenty of sense.