Paul Pogba has been tipped to let his Manchester United contract expire to give him more options next summer.
United are keen to renew the 28-year-old’s deal but have not seen the same willingness from him, and there were concerns in June that Pogba’s hesitation in the negotiations was largely due to a desire to leave for free.
This fear has since been backed up by ESPN, which says that Pogba’s current plan is to let his business go down to encourage more suitors.
Long-term suitors Real Madrid and Juventus would both be over Pogba if he became a free agent. The two sides do not have the funds needed to place a bid for the Frenchman, but would more than like to offer him some substantial salaries next summer.
Paris Saint-Germain are also well-known admirers and the French side are actively striving for Pogba this summer, although the cost of the operation and their preference to sign Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga makes such a deal unlikely as it stands.
Interestingly, the report adds that Pogba’s willingness to terminate his contract is not in fact a sign of his desire to leave, and the idea of signing a new deal with United next summer is still very much a possibility.
Instead, Pogba simply wants to get a better idea of the market for him. At the moment, his options are very limited due to the cost of signing him, but that would definitely change if he became a free agent. For United, it is a question of whether they would be prepared to lose Pogba for free or whether they think they have a real shot at signing him next summer.
We saw a similar situation with goalkeeper David de Gea in 2019. The Spaniard was strongly linked with Real Madrid, but United stood firm and let the transfer window close without selling him, and finally committed him to a new contract a few months later.
United seem to be taking the exact method this time as well, but whether they could be affected by a big bid this summer remains to be seen.