As the 2014/2015 season winds down the transfer rumours are beginning to take the front page, and despite a transfer ban being in place, Barcelona always features heavily. A major topic of discussion for the Blaugrana is signing a prime midfielder, as Xavi’s exit is imminent and Iniesta is likely to start declining in the next few years. Of course, this has resulted in all kinds of debate, so much so that the philosophy of Barcelona is once again a major topic of discussion. Do we sign possession based players or physical counter-attackers? At the heart of this has been the brightest prospect in world football, Paul Pogba. If Barcelona were to sign him for somewhere in the reported range of 70m-120m Euro many fans would rejoice, many would curse, and just as many would be on the fence.
Well, if reports from Sport are true, Pogba wants Barcelona, and only Barcelona. While there has been much to debate, as nearly every top club in Europe wants Pogba, we’ve only gotten hints at his intentions. Sport reports that Pogba and his agent, Mino Raiola, were incredibly impressed with their recent meetings with Barcelona staff, including Director Ariedo Braida, who is said to have a good relationship with Pogba‘s current club, Juventus. Apparently agent and player are in agreement that Barcelona is the place to go. Of course, both club and player have been keeping their cards close to the vest, and although there have been rumours about Barcelona losing the player to another club nothing substantial has occurred as of yet. However, reports are coming out now that PSG and Real Madrid have all but given up, while Manchester City still hasn’t swayed him, even after reportedly offering far more in both transfer fees and wages than any other club.
Otherwise, the report states that he wishes to play alongside Messi, as part of a family club that is always challenging for the highest honors. Apparently his agent also echoed sentiments that while clubs like PSG and Manchester City may offer the most money, Barcelona offers the best situation for his player, with the report suggesting Raiola steered Pogba toward Barcelona due to Manager Luis Enrique’s style of play. Also, it is said that Juventus would like to get 80m Euro for their star. The major roadblock here is the transfer ban, but apparently the report is that if the ban is lifted this summer Pogba will make his move, and if not, will be content to wait until June of 2016.
This brings up several questions, of course, such as, what if Juventus beat Barcelona in the UCL final and then offer Pogba a new, more valuable contract? Indeed, a lot could happen in a full calendar year, as the player may decide Barcelona no longer fits his desires. However, from many of the indications I have seen, the team and player fit, and all parties involved agree on this.
Pogba‘s career is notable in that he was originally left on the bench or worse as a young player at Manchester United. He has spoken negatively of the experience, often citing that he feels Juventus to be more of a family club whereas he felt like a simple commodity in the Man U system. His agent has mirrored such opinions when discussing the player’s options. On a rumour that Madrid were leading the race for his signature, Raiola made several telling comments, saying that Madrid buy players as simply as a face cloth and then throw them out just as quickly, while mocking Florentino Perez’s decision to spend 70m+ Euro on James Rodriguez after he “had six good matches in the world cup”. Basically the message was that Pogba wasn’t going to be swayed by glamour and galacticos. Again, continued reports of him turning down or remaining silent on mega offers from nouveau riche clubs while espousing his love of a familial atmosphere in the dressing room, Barcelona does seem to make more and more sense.
Although, the agent could just as easily be doing this to persuade PSG and Manchester to make even more outrageous offers, using Pogba‘s apparent affinity for the Blaugrana as negotiation leverage. And, of course there will be many complications and issues to work through if he decides to wait a full year for Barcelona‘s ban to be lifted. However, it does appear, if what Sport is saying is true, that we’ve uncovered some of the inner-workings of all these negotiations and finally have a better understanding of the player’s intentions moving forward. It could all be simple rumours, but for many the realization of Pogba as a FCB midfielder is one step closer today.