But is he really the man the Old Trafford club should be spending that amount of money on?
Should they even be spending £100million on anyone?
The French midfielder might be regarded as one of Europe’s best midfielders who, at the age of 23, still has to hit his peak.
But Pogba hasn’t been a standout in France’s run to the Euro 2016 final and we find it difficult to believe he’s worth the English giants spending one tenth of a billion to sign him – especially when they let him go for free just four years ago.
Here, we’re giving you five realistic – and cheaper – alternatives to Pogba:
If United are prepared to spend £100m on Pogba, you’d think they’ve got enough cash to tempt Real Madrid to sell a 30-year-old Modric whose contract expires in two years. He’s just off the back of a brilliant season with the Spanish giants in which he helped them to the Champions League. His Euro 2016 performances for Croatia were just as strong. Modric is rated highly in Madrid, but enough that they’d turn down every bid for him? United could probably get him for much less than the £100m Pogba fee and it’s a guarantee that a fit Modric would hit the ground running and add much-needed quality to Jose Mourinho’s midfield for the next few years.
Carvalho is an alternative around the same age and at a much cheaper price than Pogba. The 24-year-old midfielder has five full seasons of first team football under his belt and appears set to enter his peak years. Whether or not those are with Sporting Lisbon is the big question. He’s been linked with a move to a host of top clubs, most notably Arsenal, so it’s clear he’s a player destined for the top level. Any doubts over that would have been smashed with his four strong performances for Portugal at Euro 2016 so far. He’s got the passing and positioning to really shine playing in sitting midfield for United. Sporting may have him signed to a contract until 2020, but he’d still come much cheaper than Pogba and his club may see this as the ideal time to cash in. Is there much difference between him and Pogba? Not for us.
Given the attacking options, you’d have to think a defensive midfielder capable of going box to box could be more suitable for United than a strong attacking one like Pogba? They don’t come much better than Kante – especially in the Premier League. He showed for Leicester last season, and France at Euro 2016, that he’s the closest thing to Claude Makelele in the game and should be attracting interest from every top club in Europe between now and the start of the new season. If Mourinho continues to use Michael Carrick or Bastian Schweinsteiger, imagine how good they’d be alongside Kante? If the Frenchman can turn Danny Drinkwater into a Premier League winner then we’re almost certain he could do the same for those two United midfielders. But the biggest benefit to signing him is that he’d come at least £60million cheaper than Pogba, command less wages and could go on to play at Old Trafford for the next six or seven years.
Pogba is a good passer, but is he as good as Verratti? No! Italy were good at Euro 2016, but how much better would they have been had the midfield pass master been fit to play at the tournament? Much better! It’s a travesty Verratti wasn’t able to participate in this summer’s tournament, considering his international involvement over recent years and strong form for PSG in all competitions last season. He’s just 23, has a lot of first team experience and, Modric and Toni Kroos aside, is probably the closest thing to an older Paul Scholes than any other player in the world right now. Again, United would have to pay a big fee to the French champions, but it would still be much lower than the £100m mentioned for Pogba. And, again, doesn’t this represent better value?
While Pogba is undoubtedly a better attacking midfield player than Martinez, is that what United need? As mentioned, they’ll have no problem going forward next season, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Memphis Depay and Jesse Lingard all among Mourinho’s squad. What they do need is a world class link between defence and midfield – something the Bayern Munich man provides. Added to that, he’s combative enough to play centre back and that’s a benefit to United. Plus, that style of play should suit English football perfectly. He’s got a contract until 2021, but Bayern have plenty of midfielders and defenders to choose from, particularly with the summer arrivals of Renato Sanches and Mats Hummels. So maybe a move to United would make sense in what would most likely be the last high profile one of his career.
Manchester United fans – would you still sign Pogba?