As much as Juventus chief Beppe Marotta wants to prolong the inevitable he’s sooner or later going to arrive at the morale destroying realisation that he has very little chance of holding on to Paul Pogba past the summer transfer window.
The Octopus, as he’s known to some, has used his physical stature and undoubted footballing skill to carve out an incredibly healthy reputation in Turin, and his price-tag of £75 million - as per reports published over the weekend - sees him occupying a position as Juventus’ most valuable asset.
Pogba's precarious situation
Yet his classy displays in the heart of the Old Ladys’ midfield have been impossible for Europe’s giants to ignore, and no sooner had he started to prove his worth to Antonio Conte was he being tipped to leave for pastures both greener and more financially appealing.
Interestingly it’s Manchester United, the club who let him walk for nothing over Sir Alex Ferguson’s refusal to promote him to first-team regular before his time, who are chief amongst those ready to fight for his signature.
United vs City
Unfortunately for them their ‘Noisy Neighbours’ want in on the fracas, and based on recent success they deserve to be placed at least one rung above the Red Devils on the scale of likely locations for Europe’s next big name.
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The latest suggestions have it pegged that Manuel Pellegrini is ready to offer the services of the unhappy Stevan Jovetic if it puts him ahead of other clubs in the race for Pogba. Juve are all set to prepare for the eventual departure of Carlos Tevez and with Jovetic having already proved his worth in Serie A during his time at Fiorentina, a deal may be there to be made.
But moving away from why City might be better poised to convince Juve to opt for them rather than United, what’s equally important is to consider why they’re also the better fit for Pogba himself.
Problems with the Etihad
Up until now it’s true that the Etihad Stadium has been the death knell to the careers of many promising players. The aforementioned Jovetic is a coincidental member of that unfortunate band, as is ex-Everton star Jack Rodwell, former Swansea City ace Scott Sinclair and even the much-hyped Brazilian sensation Robinho, although the latter did somewhat make a rod for his own back. Last summer’s signing Eliaquim Mangala could join the waste pile, if he’s not careful.
And yet that’s not the fate one should predict for Pogba, who has already pushed himself into a stratosphere well above what many other City importees can boast. Fans can forget about him being left out in the cold like so many others who sign up to the billion pound project that continues to consume all those working with the Citizens; he’s too good for that and, moreover, there’s a tailor-made role for him to occupy.
The perfect role for the perfect player
It’s no coincidence that the rumours of Pellegrini setting his sights on the 21-year-old so often run alongside those that infer Yaya Toure’s time as the club’s most valuable man is coming to an end.
It’s wrong to state that the giant African has been anything less than a magnificent servant for the club, and his influence in both title-winning campaigns - 2011/12 and 2013/14 - underpinned the overall success.
Regretfully Toure, who is one of the most powerful box-to-box players the Premier League has ever had the pleasure of housing, is reaching the end of his career, and for how much longer he’ll be able to act as the main cog in the City machine is anyone’s guess.
As a direct result there’s soon to be a vacancy at the Etihad that only a few players in world football can truly do justice to. Pogba is one of those players, and probably the only one who is in the shop window ahead of this summer. If he slots in with remote comparability to how he’s fared in Italy then the transition between a Toure fuelled City and one without him will be seamless.
Of course the money won’t be too shabby either.
Football fans, what do you think is best for Paul Pogba’s future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below...