There’s a video making the rounds on Twitter that shows Paul Pogba having words with former best mate and 26 year old teenager Jesse Lingard, before Victor Lindelof makes a first rate interception. One hopes we see more of this from the Swede this season. What The Olegarch doesn’t think we see next season, however, is Paul Pogba. His camp has been making noises all summer, and if Ole perceives that Pogba is having a damaging effect on the morale and chemistry of his young and impressionable squad, I think cut off the branch to save the tree. It’s what the Godfather would have done.
It’s either Juventus, PSG, or Real Madrid. If I may hazard a guess: Madrid. Real Madrid have quietly had a sensational transfer window. They added Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic for well below market value, and signed prodigious Brazilian defender Eder Militao. But should Neymar or Griezmann (or both) sign for Barcelona, Madrid’s transfer window would pale in comparison. Barca would have the most stacked attacking arsenal in the history of the game. Before any sales, the Catalan giants would be able to call on the services of Suarez, Dembele, Griezmann, Neymar, Coutinho, and one Leo Messi. Florentino Perez is a man with something of an ego, and Zinedine Zidane is a smooth operator. I can see the Madrid mob feeling the need to one up their fiercest rivals and seeing Pogba as the perfect piece.
United don’t need to sell and Ole could play Fergie’s trademark “one more year” card to good effect here, but United could really rebuild their squad with the proceeds. The Olegarch weighs up how United could spend their hypothetical Paul Pogba plunder.
Let’s assume United get £150 million for Pogba and move Lukaku to Inter for £75 million. With no basis whatsoever, let’s assume Woodward authorizes up to £50 million in additional funds for an upper limit of £275 million. Lastly, let’s assume that all targeted players are open to signing with the Red Devils. What could United do with that money to continue with their rebuild?
A reach: United move swiftly and sign Fernandes for £40 million and Sean Longstaff for £25 million. They bite the bullet and pay £75 million for the services of Squarehead Maguire. There’s a brief lull as Ed Woodward dithers on a final big money signing. Woodward resurrects his interest in Jadon Sancho for his youth and Britishness, but Dortmund will not countenance a sale this transfer window. Woodward splurges on Sergej Milinković-Savić (£80 million) and Wissam Ben Yedder (£35 million). Total approximate expenditure: £255 million
A disappointment: it’s hard (and painful) to predict exactly how we might be disappointed, given the catalogue of misadventures under Ed Woodward’s merry stewardship. Evidence of the following would be cause for grave concern: anything that resembles Arsenal’s panicky shopping trolley dash that netted footballing luminaries such as Yossi Benayoun and Park Chu Young on deadline day; fewer than 3 new midfielders; any situation that includes Gareth Bale.