Manchester United are braced for another fight to keep Paul Pogba with the French star set on leaving for Real Madrid.
Pogba demanded to join Barcelona last year after his agent Mino Raiola had negotiated a move to the Nou Camp, but United chief Ed Woodward refused to consider selling his prize asset.
Now Pogba wants to join Real after Raiola opened talks with Barca’s arch rivals, and the 26-year-old midfielder told friends that he has no wish to stay at United.Madrid are desperate to sign Pogba as part of a summer rebuild, and the Frenchman admitted in March that it would be a ‘dream’ to play at the Bernabeu under his compatriot Zinedine Zidane.
United insist Pogba is still not for sale and Woodward remains determined to hold on to the £89million record signing who has huge commercial value. The player has two years left on his current £290,000-a-week contract, and United have the option to extend it by a further 12 months.
But Old Trafford insiders believe United may listen to offers in excess of £160m if they are forced to accept that there is little point in keeping Pogba against his will.
Pogba would then feel justified in telling the club that he does not want to spend another season outside the Champions League at this stage of his career.
He is happier under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a spectacular falling out with Jose Mourinho, and was a key factor in United’s resurgence.
But his recent form has dipped amid interest from Madrid as the revival has ground to a halt with a run of seven defeats in 10 games.