Juventus hope to re-land Paul Pogba in the summer, after their general manager, Giuseppe Marotta, told reporters: “I do not believe in players coming back after having gone away – but there are exceptions.” Having already left Manchester United once, joined Juventus and rejoined United again, the move would leave open the possibility of Pogba spending his entire career bouncing between the same two clubs like some footballing version of a Chuckle Brothers catchphrase.
Juventus could also be interested in Pogba’s occasional United team-mate Matteo Darmian and Chelsea’s Álvaro Morata, whose signing Marotta believes falls into the same good-but-unlikely category as Pogba: “They are great players and good lads but, to be honest, they are mirages for us.” Paris St-Germain will be their key rivals for United’s French haircut magnate, having apparently already opened preliminary discussions with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola.
Pogba’s value has crashed since he joined United in 2016. Then he cost £89m and became the world record transfer. Now United will demand £140m for him - making him worth only 70.71% of the world record transfer fee, and thus cheaper than he was before, though also £50m more expensive. He could be cheaper still, with the headline figure trumpeted on the Mail’s back page revealed in the article to be the very most that Old Trafford executives might expect, and that they “would want between £120m and £140m”.
And the summer exits from Old Trafford won’t end there, with Juventus (again), Bayern Munich and Lyon are all interested in Anthony Martial, who will be made available by United to make space in their squad for the Watford forward Richarlison. According to the Sun they “have scouted Richarlison at least 10 times this season” but they are not alone in taking a shine to the young Brazilian, with Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern, Juventus (again), Monaco and Paris St-Germain also apparently keen and Watford unwilling to sell.
Last summer Manchester City had a £21m bid for West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans turned down; this summer he’ll be available for £3m thanks to the relegation-triggered terms of his contract, and at just 30 years of age seems set to be a genuine bargain for someone. Other players who under the terms of their contracts will become available once West Brom’s demotion is confirmed include Nacer Chadli, whose release clause is set at £17m (though whether anyone will actually want to pay that for a player who due to a string of injuries and, since recovering from them, simple unpopularity has started just two league games this season and none at all since October, remains to be seen) and Salomón Rondón, the 28-year-old Venezuelan striker, who would cost £16.5m.
Whether City are still interested in Evans is unknown, but they don’t appear to have totally refreshed their shopping list if rumours of a fresh bid for Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez have any truth to them. In other stories-you-have-read-before news, West Ham want to sign Joe Hart on a season-long loan.
Arsène Wenger, writes the Sun, “is ready to kick-start the Arsenal revolution”. He will do this by selling Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka, buying James Maddison from Norwich and Ryan Fredericks from Fulham, crossing his fingers and hoping really hard.
Brighton, Newcastle, Everton, Stoke, Udinese and “a handful of clubs in France as well as Spain” are all chasing the Strasbourg striker Stéphane Bahoken, a former St Mirren loanee, who will be out of contract in the summer. According to the Express, Aston Villa are also interested, but Brighton have elbowed their way to the front of the queue.