Manchester United are preparing another big bid for a couple of midfielders according to the latest reports. We give you the lowdown and look at the likelihood of one or both of the rumours coming to fruition.
A player long to be linked with a move (back) to Old Trafford is Paul Pogba. Those links have once again strengthened today with Richard Keys saying on Twitter that he believed Pogba was set to move to Manchester and work under Jose Mourinho. The Guardian have confidently added fuel to that story suggesting that United are very much in the €100million chase to sign Pogba, although they do say that Real Madrid remain strong favourites.
Madrid are depserate to sign Pogba, with Zinedine Zidane a huge admirer of the midfield maestro. Before they can sanction a move of such magnitude though, the Champions League holders have to sell some players. James Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata and others have been linked with the exit door as Madrid look to raise the €100million they will need to sign Pogba. The strength of United’s bid is that they already have the money.
If United were to lose out on Pogba, they do have an alternative, it seems. Blaise Matuidi has been granted permission to talk to an English club according to Goal, with Chelsea and Manchester United the most strongly linked. PSG are willing to grant Matuidi a dream move to England, according to the report.
Matuidi, although not of the same caliber as Pogba, is a very good midfielder. He’s 29, so playing in his prime years and has a long-standing ambition to play in the Premier League. His strengths statistically lie in his pass completion rate of 92% and 2.36 tackles won per 90 minutes rate. He also makes more than 2 interceptions per 90 minutes, highlighting the on-field energy he offers. Although he does have the energy to get forward, Matuidi is a more defensive midfielder in comparison to Pogba. This is highlighted when comparing the two players attacking statistics. Pogba has managed more thna 3 take ons per 90 minutes, whereas Matuidi is less than 1. Pogba averaged 1.25 key passes per 90 minutes last season, again more than Matuidi (0.87).
Matuidi is likely to cost around €40million, €60million less than Pogba. But Pogba is already world class and aged just 23, he could potentially play at the highest level for 10 more seasons. So long as Pogba manages to at least maintain his current level of performance, €100million would actually represent pretty good value. In Matuidi United would be signing an established midfielder, but one who is unlikely to get any better aged 29. Pogba appears the primary target for United, but perhaps Matuidi is the ‘more realistic’ backup option.
Both players are of course still playing at Euro 2016 and their primary focus will currently be that tournament. Upon completion of it, we may see one of the players join Manchester United as Mourinho continues his search to add a central midfielder to his new look squad.