Manchester United offered choice of three Juventus players to swap Paul Pogba
Who wants a summer transfer saga?
If Manchester United are to enter the summer transfer market, using Paul Pogba as their biggest bargaining chip, they have to use him wisely.
If he does leave over the summer, the final image of Paul Pogba's second spell at Manchester United would be the World Cup winner standing near the Old Trafford tunnel and copping an earful from a couple of angry fans.
Pogba had just wrapped up an 'appreciation lap' after his side had shelled another Premier League game, against relegated Cardiff City. He scored 16 goals and made 10 assists in his 47 United appearances (45 starts) but, much like his club's, his form nose-dived after the high point of a Champions League Last 16 victory over Paris Saint Germain.
Pogba is contracted with United until June 2021 and could even end up captaining the side next season, now that Antonio Valencia has departed. However, there is a widely held view that the 26-year-old may not be at United for the 2019/20 season.
Juventus and Real Madrid are the two sides reportedly vying for Pogba's signature. Real have signed striker Luka Jovic for €60 million but are only getting started with Zinedine Zidane's planned overhaul. Juventus are lining up Maurizio Sarri as their next boss and delivering Pogba for him would be a statement of intent.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is already at work on his plans for next season and he is expected to bring in a host of fresh faces.
The Daniel James transfer deal is said to be close, a bid has reportedly been lodged for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and United are said to be interested in Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller.
Pogba is a quality player, as recently evidenced from his role in France's World Cup triumph as well as a burst of goals, assists and top performances when Solskjaer first arrived, but United may well move him on as part of their revamp.
The Express claim that Juventus are eager to get Pogba back to Turin and are offering up Argentine attacker Paulo Dybala as the bait. The 25-year-old chipped in with a disappointing 12 goals and five assists for the Bianconeri last season.
Were United to consider parting ways with Pogba, though, they should press Juve on a trade (plus cash) deal for Miralem Pjanic. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international is four years older than Dybala but is exactly the sort of composed, crisp-passing centre midfielder the club is crying out for.
With Ander Herrera off to PSG and Nemanja Matic looking a spent force, getting in Pjanic - a proven performer for country and club at the top level of Europe - would make perfect sense.
A separate report, in The Independent, claims Juve will let United choose from Dybala, full-back Joao Cancelo or Pjanic in an effort to get them to the table to discuss Pogba. United would be within their rights to seek two from the three names mentioned to part ways with Pogba - and in doing so improve at least one area of their team - or could go for a player plus cash deal.
Any such deals, initial overtures aside, may have to wait until Juventus get their new manager for 2019/20 installed.