Same plot. Same script. Two characters. First Gerard Pique, next Luis Suarez. Both have one thing in common aside from the obvious Barcelona fraternity, they’ve both publicly welcomed Paul Pogba to the club. Could this be coy on the part of the Catalans?
Barca has been sniffing around Manchester United’s no 6 for some time now. Jose Mourinho’s much-publicised fall out with the Frenchman didn’t help. Not even consoling with the captain armband in the opening two fixtures eased the tension. Pogba considered moving elsewhere while Pique opened Camp Nou’s doors.
“I know very little about what’s happening there [with Pogba and Mourinho]. It’s very private between them, their relationship,” he told The Express.
“What I know is Pogba is a great player and he plays for Manchester United right now. We
will see in the future if he wants to change clubs.
“We will be happy to have him here, obviously. We want the best players to be at Barcelona. But we respect Manchester United because it’s his club. Until he says something or the club says something, he’s a Manchester United player.”
Pique knows quite a lot about United and Mourinho. He spent five years at Old Trafford, albeit struggling to break through in the Premier League. On return to his homeland, he championed a three-year heated El Classico rivalry, when the Portuguese tactician was there.
The Spaniard was made well aware of the consequences of his remark.
United had already turned down a massive bid from Barca. They offered £45m plus Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes.
The expectation was that the whole saga would finally come to an end. It didn’t, however. Suarez opened what is becoming a can of worms. Worse, the Uruguayan was blatant in his own assessment. He believes the 25-year-old should be challenging for more trophies.
“Pogba’s an elite player who’s won everything,” he told RAC1 on Tuesday.
“He has a lot of quality and he’s one of the references at United. I think he would like to be competing for more than he is at the moment. He’s not a player that belongs to Barca, but he would always be welcome. I think he would like to be competing for more than he is at the moment”
Barcelona were lively in the summer. Arturo Vidal, Arthur and Malcom joined the club in a bid to replace Andres Iniesta. Yet the Blaugrana would clearly jump at Pogba. It isn’t surprising, though.
Supreme athleticism, precocious skill, devastating power – he’s got the lot. When the Frenchman picks the ball up in midfield you can almost hear the opposition scream, “RETREAT!” They know what’s coming – trouble. Pogba is capable of slaloming through challenges, picking a defence-splitting pass or unleashing a piledriver.
Barca failed to persuade United to do business. Perhaps their scheme is to get into the head of the Frenchman by using its own players. If that’s the case then, Lionel Messi may be next.