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Paul Pogba's Man Utd future: What we know so far amid Real Madrid and Juventus transfer interest

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6 days ago ALEX YOUNG
a close up of Paul Pogba © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Paul Pogba continues to raise doubts over his long-term future at Manchester United despite the close of the Premier League transfer window.

Three years after making a return to Old Trafford for a then world-record £89million fee, the midfielder began the summer buy confirming his desire for "a new challenge" this season.

He struggled with both form and fitness under Jose Mourinho and, along with most of the squad, underwhelmed last season despite racking up his best attacking stats of his second United spell.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's managed to fend off interest before the season started but what next for the World Cup winner?

Here's what we know so far courtesy of James Robson and Ben Hayward...

Paul Pogba, Mike Phelan are posing for a picture: (Getty Images) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited (Getty Images)

Who wants to sign him?

A lot of clubs, but namely Real Madrid and Juventus. Any fee the player would command means only a handful of clubs could afford a deal.

Pogba's wording of "a new challenge" could be interpreted as ruling out a return to Turin, though his preference can only be speculated upon despite the Italian giants reportedly pursuing a move in June.

Zinedine Zidane is a long-term admirer of the midfielder and is understood to have made Pogba a key target after snatching up Eden Hazard.

http://players.brightcove.net/1348423965/default_default/index.html?videoId=6067770481001
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no concerns over Pogba's commitment to his side

What now for Pogba?

With the summer window now shut, you would imagine Pogba is committed to United for another season. Then, United have to be convinced to sell their most high-profile player. The commercial value will be an important consideration for Ed Woodward amid all of this.

Pogba, for his part, has kept talk of an exit on peoples lips, telling French publication RMC after United's first game of the season: "I'm aware that things have been said [about a potential move away]. Only time will tell. There's always that question mark.

"I'm at Manchester. I have fun with my team-mates, I always want to win matches and I always do my best when I'm on the pitch."

Solskjaer appears happy with Pogba, underlining his positive work ethic multiple times, despite, as Standard Sport understands, the player convincing Solskjaer he wanted to be part of his United revolution before publicly declaring his intention to leave.

Real Madrid are the most likely destination and Zinedine Zidane perceived public courting over the summer has angered Solskjaer having a point of refusing to talk about transfer targets this summer and, privately, has been irked by his Real counterpart’s lack of discretion.

Zidane mischievously hinted in March that Pogba wanted to join him at Real, stating: “He's always said that he likes Madrid.”

Dave Woodward et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: (Getty Images) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited (Getty Images)

How much will he cost?

It’s believed United wanted in excess of £150m this summer if they were to reluctantly accept Pogba’s decision to leave.

Madrid were put off a move for Pogba when the midfielder became available in 2016, baulking at the £89.3m fee, but the World Cup winner would be even more costly this time around and Real need to sell several players before they are able to fund a deal which could rise to £150m.

United rejected Real’s offer of a player-plus-cash deal involving James Rodriguez and £27.6m on top late in the window. It was considered a derisory bid and evidence of Real’s lack of spending power following the signings of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo this summer.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Who could replace him?

A six-man shortlist was drawn up at the beginning of the summer, including Christian Eriksen, Philippe Coutinho, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes.

Coutinho still looks likely to leave Barcelona on loan, but his Liverpool past made a move a likely non-starter, Tielemans made his Leicester loan a permanent transfer, Joao Felix joined Atletico Madrid in a deal worth around €105m.

James Maddison is an option next summer, should United's interest hold, while Bruno Fernandes was left at Sporting after interested clubs failed to meet the asking price.

Christian Eriksen rejected a move to Old Trafford in the final days of the window as he looks for a change of lifestyle after six years in London with Tottenham.

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