Paul Pogba to Juventus: Two players that could be included in a swap deal

Paul Pogba of Juventus (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
Paul Pogba of Juventus (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images) /

Juventus will need to offload players if Paul Pogba is to return to Italy after a difficult spell with Manchester United.

With just over 18 months on his current Manchester United deal and recent quotes surrounding his happiness at the international level, Paul Pogba is once again a target of transfer speculation. Few clubs across Europe have the financial backing to sign the 2018 World Cup winner and fewer would likely be interested in signing the French star who continues to struggle with fitness and form at the domestic level.

In a recent interview with RTL, Pogba stated, “The French national team is a breath of fresh air… We are very happy to come here and all very happy to see each other again. This is not the same as with the club.” Pogba’s form with Manchester United has been disappointing since his then record-breaking €105 million return to United from Juventus. The star midfielder has yet to bring his international form to England following the 2016 move and does not appear a natural fit in United’s current midfield.

There is plenty to be decided in Manchester regarding both the futures of Pogba and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Manchester United boss’s future with the club seems to be day-to-day at the moment as United sit 10th in the Premier League table. Meanwhile, Pogba has struggled under both José Mourinho and Solskjaer. Although the club triggered the extension to June 2022 just last month, Manchester United are running out of time to recapture any of the millions spent on the soon to be 28 year old.

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After being linked to Zidane’s Real Madrid, the most likely destinations for Pogba outside of Manchester would be a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain or a return to Juventus. Juventus, like many other clubs across Europe, are struggling with club finances due to the impact of Coronavirus and would struggle to pick up both Pogba’s salary and potential transfer fee.

After completing marquee summer moves for Barcelona’s Arthur, Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, and Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa, Juventus would have to move players to again be active in the upcoming winter or summer windows. With Cristiano Ronaldo at a reported €1 million per week and several others pushing €10 million a year, Juventus would need to swap a player or two to pick up Pogba’s reported £15 million in wages.

The Pogba to Juventus rumblings gained traction after Juventus sacked Maurizio Sarri for club legend, Andrea Pirlo. Pirlo returned to Juventus this summer despite lacking management experience, a decision that raised eyebrows across the continent. Transfer rumors for a Pogba reunion looked more reasonable after Juventus signed Pirlo’s former teammate, Morata in the summer. If Pirlo looked to add former teammates with whom he trusted, then a move for Pogba would seem likely after the two starred in midfield together for four years.

To complete a Pogba deal, Juventus would ideally like to swap a high earning, out of sorts player with Manchester United. A move would have to be beneficial to both clubs both in terms of fit and financially. A Pogba swap would more than likely require Juventus to include some type of transfer fee in addition to the swap due to Pogba’s high profile global marketability. Additionally, Juventus would be reluctant to move on from a heavily featured player or budding star.

Juventus have some of the deepest talent in Europe, with stars across the pitch. Youngsters Merih Demiral and Matthijs de Ligt are the club’s future in center defense and would likely be untouchable in any deal. In the same respect, Juventus would not likely part with Dejan Kulusevski, Gianluca Frambotta, or Rodrigo Bentancur. Manchester United would then be left with higher profile and higher earning options.

Juventus would prefer to swap players on high wages who have not often been featured in Pirlo’s side. The club appears committed to retaining Ronaldo throughout the remainder of his deal and while offloading the Portuguese star would see a swap of both the highest caliber footballers and wages, it would likely not be the preferred move for either side. At 35, Ronaldo does not fit the profile of United’s general transfer dealings despite the need for a long-term center forward. The most likely candidates then to be swapped would be Brazilian winger Douglas Costa or Argentine Paulo Dybala.

Costa has often been linked to a move outside of Turin and was considered a potential target for English club, Wolverhampton this summer before returning to Bayern Munich on loan. The German and European champions are unlikely to make the deadline deal move permanent, similar to that of the club’s loan more for Ivan Perišić last year. Juventus could then try to move the over 30 winger to United again in the summer, but considering age and his approximate €10 million a year in wages, would not be seen as a featured piece in a swap deal.

The most likely piece to be used in any kind of swap deal to Manchester United for Paul Pogba would include Paulo Dybala. Dybala had previously been linked to United in 2019 in a potential swap including then striker, Romelu Lukaku but failed to materialize. Dybala has since struggled to pick up many minutes under Pirlo and is looking to improve fitness levels on a return from injury. As one of the club’s highest earners, he would likely be included if Juventus were to move for Pogba.

Dybala’s struggles go further back to his time under Sarri and was noted to be poor form in training by Pirlo, following the club’s 2-1 Champions League win over Ferencvaros. After failing to build around or find a consistent spot for Dybala, Juventus could cut losses with the high profile star this summer and a move to Manchester could be beneficial to all sides.

Manchester United have struggled to find consistent play at center forward with Anthony Martial off of his prior year form and Edison Cavani acting as no more than a placeholder. Dybala, while not in the same build as a Premier League number nine, is an established goal scorer at a big outfit. At 27, he would fit the ideal age profile of a player entering their peak years and carries a global reputation, albeit not that of Pogba or Ronaldo.

A Dybala-Pogba swap would give United depth and a long-term solution up front, allowing Solskjaer or a future manager the ability to focus on other areas of the squad. The swap would give Juventus a proven star for Pirlo’s midfield while offloading an expensive contract and provides both players the opportunity to recapture their form at the domestic level.

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Do you think Paul Pogba would ever go back to Juventus?