Paul Pogba is unlikely to attract offers of up to £100 million ($124m), thinks Gary Neville, with it possible that the Frenchman could help Manchester United to challenge for the Premier League title in 2020-21.
Speculation regarding the future of the World Cup-winning midfielder at Old Trafford has raged for some time. Pogba has left the exit door open, but his struggles for form and fitness in the current campaign – along with the expected impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transfer market – means that the 27-year-old could be forced to stay put.
Neville believes that will be the case, but sees cause for optimism when it comes to a proven performer who may rediscover his spark when paired alongside Bruno Fernandes in United’s engine room.
The Red Devils legend told Sky Sports when asked if the prospect of getting a fully fit Pogba firing again is an exciting one: “I think it is. I think the direction all season of Pogba’s career was always pointing away from Manchester in the sense that there was so much speculation, his agent was coming out all the time.
“I just wonder now with what’s happened, obviously with coronavirus and the economic reset in football, which clubs are actually going to be able to buy Paul Pogba for the reported 80, 90, £100m?
“Which clubs are going to pay the huge wages Paul Pogba is on at Manchester United? I’m not diminishing him as a player, I’m talking about the economic situation that the whole world finds itself in.
“So Paul Pogba may want to sit at Manchester United for the next 12 to 18 months and look at the fact he’s got a club that he can play at with Bruno Fernandes, with Fred, with [Scott] McTominay, with [Nemanja] Matic, [Harry] Maguire, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, De Gea in goal and then you’ve got Mason Greenwood, [Anthony] Martial and Rashford up front.
“You look at that as a core group of players who are a really good age. Manchester United still need to add three, four or five players of really high quality to that, and they are in a position to be able to capitalise this summer in the transfer market.
“They will be one of the clubs that still has some sort of ability to do some business. Manchester United have found it difficult in these last eight years to keep prices down, to keep wages down and they are going to be in a very, very strong position to hold their nerve this summer.
“This is a really important summer for Manchester United. If football can get back in the next few weeks, if Man Utd can continue to play how they were pre this lockdown – when they were starting to keep clean sheets, they had a good defensive record, the midfield looked like it was starting to tick and they were still getting goals out of that front three – you starting looking at the glass half full rather than half empty and being the 30 points, or whatever it is, off Liverpool.
“I don’t know why it is but I feel a little more confident in Manchester United’s ability to challenge next season just because of what’s happened and the fact that they started to play a lot better before this lockdown.”