CHELSEA and Manchester City are leading the race to land Paul Pogba in the summer, with the Juventus midfielder keen on a return to the Premier League.Goal understands that the title-chasing duo have made the 21-year-old France international a transfer priority, with Pogba’s preferred choice being a return to England should he be allowed to leave Juve when the transfer window reopens.
Pogba has carved out a reputation as one of the top midfield players in world football since leaving Manchester United in somewhat acrimonious circumstances back in 2012, with every leading European club keeping a close eye on his transfer situation.
The Frenchman only agreed an improved deal with Serie A champions Juventus in October although Goal understands the Italian club are preparing themselves for his departure and are looking for a fee of at least +59 million.
Both Chelsea and City will have to consider FFP regulations when putting together any bid for Pogba although the +6.9bn Premier League television rights deal, which kicks into gear for the 2016-17 season, has strengthened their arm.
Pogba is being seen as a potential replacement for Yaya Toure at the Etihad Stadium, with the Ivory Coast captain looking increasingly likely to leave the club in the summer and with Roberto Mancini’s Inter having been strongly linked.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are prepared to go toe-to-toe with City and are a club that the 21-year-old admires, with Pogba’s combination of physical and technical prowess well-suited to Jose Mourinho’s attack-minded Blues side.
Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United would also be willing to spend big to take the midfielder back to Old Trafford although they remain outsiders given Pogba’s exit from the club three years ago.
Pogba was restricted to just 71 minutes of Premier League football and has since revealed he opted to leave after being overlooked during a midfield injury crisis which saw defender Rafael preferred ahead of him.
Pogba’s representative Mino Raiola will be heavily involved in any potential negotiations over the midfielder’s future, with the Italian super agent having previously suggested that he could be sold for a record fee in the summer.
As for competition from Europe for Pogba’s signature, Goal understands that PSG and Real Madrid have both made enquiries over the 21-year-old’s availability.
A bid from the Champions League holders could well turn the player’s head although Goal understands that certain members of the Madrid hierarchy would prefer Dortmund winger Marco Reus as the club’s next Galactico signing.