Manchester United are reluctant to enter the race to sign Juventus star Paul Pogba because it would entail eating a big chunk of humble pie, reports The Express.
The 21-year-old is one of the most sought after footballers in the world at the moment with a number of Europe's biggest clubs tracking his progress. The Italian champions are also preparing to cash in on Pogba this summer with the player's agent expecting a world record transfer fee to be agreed.
But despite Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid all ready to bid, Manchester United do not feel bringing Pogba back to Old Trafford would look good on the club. Old Trafford officials are still bitter about the way the midfielder left the club in 2012.
An ongoing feud
Pogba turned down a contract offer from Manchester United and left for Juventus on a free transfer. The player cited Sir Alex Ferguson's lack of faith in his ability while the now-retired manager claims it was more about money.
Goal reported that Juventus will want at least £44 million for Pogba, a fee well within the reach of Louis van Gaal's budget. However, Manchester United believe signing Pogba would be an admission of wrongdoing as well as disrespectful for Ferguson, who is still indirectly involved at Old Trafford.
Rivals well placed
The feeling may be mutual, with Pogba believed to be unwilling to forgive the Red Devils for the way they treated him in his final months. He has, however, declared a "love" for the club several times since departing.
It could end up being a big mistake. Jose Mourinho is believed to be pushing hard to sign Pogba after making him his number one transfer target for the summer transfer window. The report in Goal suggested that Pogba would prefer a move to England over La Liga.
Manchester City are also preparing a move should Yaya Toure decide to depart the Etihad Stadium. Both Premier League clubs would struggle to make the deal work under financial fair play regulations, but the new £5 billion TV has given them hope that it can be done.
A stupid decision from United
If Manchester United have the funds, they have to at least try to coax Pogba back to Old Trafford. The midfielder is a shoe-in for a Ballon d'Or should his current trajectory continue and at £44 million, would prove to be a wise investment.
Their decision seems all the more baffling considering that their direct Premier League rivals seem favourites to land his signature. Seeing Pogba sign for Chelsea or, worse, Manchester City, would be extremely bad for their relationship with the fans.
Manchester United have the financial strength to outgun both Chelsea and City; it is crucial they use that power to stop their rivals from signing one of world football's brightest young stars.