Mino Raiola is looking to force Juventus to cash in on Paulo Dybala to get Paul Pogba through the door – with Gianluigi Donnarumma potentially joining him at the Italian champions too.
The agent, who has had numerous close workings with the Turin top brass, is looking to take Manchester United midfielder Pogba back to his former club in 2021.
That’s why Raiola spoke publicly about Pogba’s future to Tuttosport – the Turin-based daily – on Monday, as he declared: “I can say that it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United.”
He added: “Paul is unhappy at Manchester United. He isn’t performing as he’d like and as we expect. He has to move, he has to change scenery.
“He has a contract that expires in 18 months, in summer 2022. But I think the best thing for all parties is a sale.
“Otherwise United, who we have a great relationship with, know very well they’d risk losing him for free given the player has no intention of extending.”
Raiola would also expressly suggest the Bianconeri has Pogba’s next destination, with the Allianz Stadium, rather than Real Madrid, now his preferred and most likely destination.
“Maybe Juventus could be his next destination,” he surmised. “Why not?
“Among other things, the relationship with the club and with his former team-mates is excellent. At the time of Covid, not many teams can afford to buy Paul.”
Los Blancos are severely restricted financially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and thus won’t be pushing big funds in the direction of the World Cup winner.
Juventus too will need to get financially creative to land Pogba, but it is do-able – especially with Raiola offering his help, as Juve discovered when signing the Frenchman first time around in 2012.
Finances are tight in Turin and this past summer the club’s accountants got creative, both to free up funds – via the bumper valuations attached to both Miralem Pjanic and Arthur in the swap deal involving Barcelona – and with the obligation-to-buy deal that took Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina.
Working both has allowed Juve to stay one step ahead of Financial Fair Play regulations.
Raiola’s words and his message this week was both timed and detailed as Juve chiefs look to find a solution for Argentina international Dybala.
Once seen as the side’s future he is heading into the final 18 months of his own deal and, like Pogba in Manchester, increasingly has the look of a spare part with just one goal in 10 games so far this term. Moreover, Alvaro Morata is being preferred as Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike partner by Andrea Pirlo.
Dybala’s £13.5million-a-year wages (£225k-a-week) eat into the coffers in Turin, and talks over an extension have been stuck at an impasse.
As such, Juve chiefs are looking to potentially sell the 27-year-old next summer, for a transfer fee that would be in a similar region to that which United would expect for Pogba, around £50-60million.
If Juve don’t sell, or can’t find a buyer however, they will struggle to raise the funds required for Pogba via other assets. That is something Raiola knows full well, hence his indirect push for them to come up with a decision.
Another moving situation with regards the agent and Juve is the young AC Milan ‘keeper Donnarumma, the heir to Gianluigi Buffon at international level, whom Juventus would also like to sign and who is also represented by Raiola.
Donnarumma’s £9million-a-year contract at Milan – signed when the club’s former regime had its backs against a wall, is up at the end of June and while he impressed for the Rossoneri so far this term, it has left Milan vulnerable as they seek to extend.
Donnarumma stated recently: “I want to stay at Milan for a long time, but we’ll see what the club decides.”
However, aware that their predecessors overspent on his contract last time, there are difficult decisions to be made over a new deal by the club’s new supremos, including ex-Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, especially on more money.
Given his age and his quality, and the fact that, if he had decent time left on his deal he’d be a £50million-plus asset, Raiola again holds all the cards. On the open market, Donnarumma and Raiola will both be able to command huge signing on fees respectively if he moves without a transfer fee.
If Milan don’t offer an extension with an improved salary, it can be painted as the club not wanting to keep their No.1, at a time when they currently sit top of Serie A under Stefano Pioli.
Taking him for nothing unquestionably appeals to Juventus, particularly with Donnarumma nine years younger than Wojciech Szczesny, who himself would command a sizeable transfer fee and wouldn’t be short of suitors if available for next summer.
All in, Juventus can make the finances of Dybala and Szczesny out, Pogba and Donnarumma in, work for them.
As Raiola himself said: “The important thing is to want it.”
But they’ll need his help to do just that. And that’s something which he has pointedly just reminded them.
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