The future of Juventus star Paul Pogba has taken another twist after Real Madrid asked Mino Raiola to put a hold on any transfer deal to Manchester United.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, officials from the European champions asked Pogba's agent for more time to formulate a financial package to match their Premier League rivals.
Manchester United have placed a £100million bid which Juventus are keen to accept. They have also offered the French midfielder a huge deal worth £300,000-a-week.
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Real Madrid are keen to throw their hat into the ring but require more time to generate the funds to match United's offer. Whether Raiola is willing to listen to Pogba is not made clear in the report but if the player has any say in his future, which we hope he does, their request will probably be granted.
That is because it is strongly believed the 23-year-old prefers a move to Real Madrid, where he can experience a new culture, play for one of the world's biggest clubs and work with a French legend in Zinedine Zidane.
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The pair have regularly taken it in turns to praise each other's work in the media with the Real Madrid manager openly admitting his admiration for his compatriot in a recent interview.
Zidane said: "Do I like Pogba? Of course, he's a very good player and every club wants the best players, but right now he's at Juve and we have a large squad already.
"There are still lots of players yet to join up with the squad and with the Euros going on we couldn't do anything. We have three games coming up and that's the focus at the moment."
But for Zidane to be hooked up with his dream midfielder, president Florentino Perez needs to bring the club's finances under control. They have an incredible debt of €620million and must generate money through player sales.
Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez have both reportedly been put up for sale although there are not many takers at the current price. Morata is valued at £60m while Madrid want a similar amount for Rodriguez.
Chelsea and Arsenal have both been linked with a deal for Morata while PSG are interested in signing Rodriguez but none of the above appear keen to break their respective country's transfer records.
Huge blow for Mourinho
For Jose Mourinho, the news will come as a big blow. He spoke openly about his ambition to get a "fourth signing" brought in before pre-season preparations advance. Old Trafford chiefs, including Ed Woodward, have worked hard to agree quick deals for Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but an agreement for Pogba is proving to be a huge hurdle.
Real Madrid's involvement and Pogba's apparent preference is causing more concern with every passing day.
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