Real Madrid: Why Paul Pogba has basically no chance of joining

Paul Pogba (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Paul Pogba (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane may want to work with Paul Pogba, but the dream seems to be all but over.

In 2019, it seemed like there were real legs to the rumors of Paul Pogba signing with Real Madrid. Pogba was clearly disappointed with his situation at Manchester United, and who in his shoes wouldn’t be? A superstar player and a former record transfer, Pogba was toiling away on a team with major question marks, a lack of organization direction, and a manager who has no business running a club of United’s stature.

So the links to Real starting pouring in. And then there were links to Juventus, which is a reunion that could still happen.

For most fans, the idea of Pogba playing for Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid was intriguing, and there were rumors suggesting a great deal of mutual interest. Those rumors continue to trickle through even in the second half of 2020.

Pogba and Zidane don’t seem to be done dreaming of a move, but even if Manchester United steeply reduce the superstar midfielder’s transfer fee – which was a huge reason why Los Blancos didn’t really try to sign him last year – it’s hard to see the move happening.

It looks like the dream is over.

Let’s look at the facts. The midfield is a low priority for Real Madrid next summer, with the exception of a young midfielder who can take over for Casemiro one day. And Real have already found that ideal target in Eduardo Camavinga, who would cost around the same amount as Pogba. Camavinga has also outplayed Pogba over the past year, even if he is less proven than the former Juventus superstar.

Real’s main focus is on the attack. They need a new top goal-scorer badly, and goals are expensive. Los Blancos’ dream, which is shared by not just Zinedine Zidane but also Florentino Perez, is PSG’s Kylian Mbappe. He is the most valuable footballer in the world and will cost 180 million euros – maybe more.

So if Real Madrid have to save up every cent for Mbappe, to the point where they made no transfers in 2020, then can they really afford to pay Pogba’s transfer fee and wages? And is it really smart to do this when an attacking-minded wide center midfielder like Pogba isn’t a key priority?

Before 2019-2020, a midfielder with Pogba’s qualities would have been a priority. And that’s why it used to make a lot of sense for Los Blancos to be linked with Pogba.

But now, Real have unearthed a world-class, 22-year-old center midfielder who can play on either the left or right side and dominate in literally every phase of the game. He might not have the technical quality of Pogba or the pinpoint passing, but Valverde is a better athlete and defender. And Real Madrid need that. Valverde is also no slouch as a scorer or passer himself. He’s also 22. Most importantly, he is, to Real Madrid, free. Pogba is decidedly not.

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At the Santiago Bernabeu, Pogba could become the Ballon d’Or candidate in midfield he was always destined to be. It’s sad to see how Manchester United have failed one of the generation’s most gifted midfielders. Unfortunately, the best possible move for Pogba’s career is no longer the best possible move for Real as an organization. Barring an unexpected turn of events next summer, it’s hard to see the Pogba/Real rumors ever materializing into a dream transfer.