FC Barcelona is being linked with Paul Pogba again, by several sources in Catalan media. The Frenchman was linked with a move to the Camp Nou when he was leaving Juventus a few years ago, and it seems the interest never died, even as he signed for Manchester United. Coming off a FIFA World Cup win, Pogba is keen to match his international success with trophies for his club, but his relationship with his coach, José Mourinho, is said to be strained.
His agent, Mino Raiola, has been spotted in Barcelona once or twice, and there is apparently interest from the Catalans. Barcelona missed out on Antoine Griezmann, and despite having a good summer by all accounts, have not made a “statement signing” of a big star. Pogba fits the bill, plus he reinforces midfield, one area of relative weakness.
Barça didn’t spend much on Arturo Vidal, so theoretically there’s enough money to make another splash, especially for a player as good and as marketable as Pogba.
Less clear is why Manchester United would sell one of their best players, and one they are meant to be building around, just a few days before the English transfer window closes. Premier League clubs will still be able to loan players with buy options after the fact, but it’s still quite late for such a seismic shift.
And while Pogba is a great player, with the signing of Vidal, does Barcelona need his profile that badly? There is going to be an overbooking of epic proportions with Pogba, Vidal, Coutinho, Sergio Busquets, and Ivan Rakitić all in the same team. That’s not to mention Arthur, Sergi Samper, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Rafinha, and Carles Aleñá.
Pogba would be sure to start, and you can’t play him alongside Coutinho, Busquets, Rakitić, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, AND Ousmane Dembélé, not to say anything of all the others who may dream of a starting place. Something would have to give.
It’s not impossible that Barcelona would try to swap one of them, for example Rakitić or Dembélé, but it would be difficult to find a willing partner in the deal who would offer the right amount of money. Those would also constitute valuable pieces to discard. In addition, Barcelona would have no margin for error in terms of making good money off the sales of the likes of Gomes, as they would need a bit of income to subsidize the operation.
And despite the fact Barcelona have money, they may not want to pay what is sure to be an incredible fee for Pogba, or to break their salary structure even further.
In this crazy transfer market, you never know what will happen next, but if you are one that dreams of Pogba in red and blue, I would set your expectations low.