L’Equipe have Paul Pogba splashed across their Thursday front page.
The French newspaper also have the Manchester United player splashed across pages two and three. It’s huge coverage, so big you’d expect them to be reporting he’s on the verge of a deadline day transfer, but that’s not the case.
L’Equipe say that even if the chances of a move are ‘almost nil’, Pogba is ‘shaking the transfer window’.
They then go on to take claims from elsewhere of the midfielder having a personal agreement to join Barcelona, but that’s been denied more than once by sections of the Catalan media.
It’s explained that the rise of rumours in recent weeks has encouraged doubt around the player’s future. He’s attached to Manchester United not only in a contractual way, it’s stated, but there’s not the same feeling with Jose Mourinho.
Pogba is said to need a little love, and L’Equipe say: ‘In recent weeks, the English press and the Spanish media have spoken forcefully about the mutual interest that binds the French international to FC Barcelona, a club that made him dream, when younger, because of the presence of two of his models, Ronaldo and then Ronaldinho. Several sources even claim the existence of a contractual agreement with the Catalan club in a file that would be led by the Frenchman Eric Abidal, new technical secretary of the champion of Spain.’
And then is the crux of all of this, with L’Equipe explaining that Barcelona not publicly denying anything has pleased the player’s entourage, and they add: ‘Discussions and negotiations with the Spanish club, whose interest is proven, could provide a salary increase for a player whose club fees are currently estimated at about €17m gross annual. This manoeuvre also makes it possible to assert Pogba’s status even more firmly. Both sporting and financially, while Alexis Sanchez, who landed from Arsenal last January, earns more than €20m. This didn’t go unnoticed in the Pogba camp, led by his agent Mino Raiola.’
Ah, so there’s an annoyance that Sanchez is paid more. That, coupled with a tense Mourinho relationship, seems to have been the basis for Mino Raiola rattling cages.
L’Equipe’s headline says ‘Barca, the Pogbluff?’ which perhaps says it all, for this summer at least.