So much so that reports in France even suggested that the midfielder’s agent, Mino Raiola, had offered his client to his fierce rivals Liverpool.
Regardless of the validity of these claims, time seems to be running out for the Frenchman’s career at Old Trafford and with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having already spent a lot on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this summer, an outing for Pogba would help fund these moves.
In recent weeks, Paris Saint-Germain have been the main team credited with interest in the 28-year-old, in a move that would be far more realistic than any change at Anfield, with some reports suggesting they have opened talks concerning a possible move. .
While the Ligue 1 giants are still desperate to win the Champions League and also head into the new season in the unknown position of not being defending champions, it is understandable that they are serious about the transfer market. .
Having already tied Neymar to a new contract, they are trying to get Kylian Mbappe to do the same as Mauricio Pochettino has bolstered his squad this summer with the arrivals of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi and the former midfielder. by Liverpool Gini Wijnaldum.
Already benefiting from the services of Marco Veratti, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria, Rafinha, Danilo Pereira, Ander Herrera, Pablo Sarabia, Julian Draxler and Idrissa Gueye alongside former Red, PSG can already claim to have one of the midfielders strongest ground in Europe.
Still, if they were now looking to get Pogba in through the finish gate after Wijnaldum as well, that would be an even clearer signal of intent as the new season approaches.
It remains to be seen whether the Frenchman would be a big money transfer now or turn out, like the Dutchman, to be a Bosman signing at the end of his contract.
But the contrasting fortunes of rivals turned future teammates at Manchester and Liverpool respectively are curious when thinking about their stints in the Premier League.
Wijnaldum and Pogba moved to Anfield and Old Trafford in the summer of 2016, with Jurgen Klopp bringing in the relegated Dutchman from Newcastle United in a £ 25million deal while the Frenchman returned to the Red Devils in a Juventus’ world record £ 89million, just four years after leaving the club with a free transfer.
Naturally, it was Pogba’s return that made the most noise as United declared ‘POGBACK’, while the reaction of some Reds to Wijnaldum’s signing was rather indescribable in comparison.
And to further embrace the duo, it was his own midfielder Klopp who lost the name when asked if he would like to lead the Frenchman one day in 2018.
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” What can I say ? Paul Pogba is a world class player. That’s all I can say, and he’s a Man United player, so I think we should prepare for him as well, ”said the German.
“I don’t know how much you ask Jose Mourinho about our players? Does anyone ask him about Gini Wijnaldum? I think 100% not! ”
Yet while Liverpool have seen their midfielder go for nothing and United will still be hopeful of claiming hefty fees if their own man moves, there is a clear winner when it comes to which transfer has the worked better for one or the other club.
At Wijnaldum, the Reds had a true Liverpool legend, and one who has played a vital and ubiquitous virtual role, throughout his five years at Anfield as Klopp’s men have reached new heights, even for a club. such stature.
A Premier League, Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup winner during his time on Merseyside, the Dutchman exceeded all expectations, although fans never got to see the player who ‘they had expected that their club had signed.
A predominantly attacking midfielder ahead of his move to Anfield, with his most memorable moment for Newcastle being a four-goal goal against Norwich City, Klopp had other ideas for his new arrival.
Used primarily as number eight, Wijnaldum was also reinvented as number six as he blossomed into a new, deeper role, but also made sure he was somewhat taken for granted with such a move. ultimately contributing to his farewell words about feeling unloved and scapegoating when leaving for PSG.
Also showing his versatility as an emergency center-back and forward, Reds fans will always wonder what could have been if he could have shown his attacking abilities more consistently under Klopp, having continued to thrive in a role. number 10 for the Netherlands throughout his time at Anfield.
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Yet he has often proven himself to be an important player with Wijnaldum’s historic brace in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, securing his place in the club’s annals forever. .
With 22 goals and 15 assists in 237 appearances for Liverpool, there were also crucial strikes against rivals Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton as well as goals against Middlesbrough, Roma and Chelsea to help the Reds qualify. for the Champions League, reach a Champions League Final and celebrate the Premier League trophy lifting in style.
In contrast, Pogba remains somewhat of a luxury player for United. The one who shows off the occasional glittering moment, his record of 38 goals and 45 assists in 199 appearances is superior to Wijnaldum’s return to Liverpool, but he has rarely been the winning midfielder the Red Devils expected.
Although he only owns the medals of the Europa League and Coupe de la Ligue 2017 winners, scoring in the final of the first, Pogba appears to be saving his best for France, even his staunchest supporters struggling to convince others that he has always kept his promises. £ 89million transfer fee to Old Trafford.
His most impressive season for United came in 2018/19, scoring 13 goals in 35 Premier League appearances to earn a place in the PFA Team of the Year after winning the World Cup.
Yet this season United have finished only sixth in the standings, suffering Champions League and FA Cup quarter-final outings and a League Cup third round loss as their season wrapped up. by disappointment.
And the fact that they haven’t won anything since 2017, lost numerous semi-finals, and suffered premature Champions League exits despite not failing to qualify at all has often been placed in part to Pogba’s gate for not being able to consistently deliver and differentiate for the Red Devils.
The 2018/19 season remains the Frenchman’s only campaign where he has made more than 30 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, limited to just 16 and 26 outings in the last two campaigns. In contrast, Wijnaldum’s lowest comeback was 33 league games.
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There is no doubt about the talents of either player, and if they end up teaming up with the PSG midfielder, they will certainly forge a formidable prospect for themselves.
Admittedly, neither the Dutchman nor the Frenchman can confidently claim to have met initial expectations following their move to Anfield and Old Trafford in the summer of 2016.
Still, Liverpool will have no regrets over their former £ 25million man, having gotten the best bang for the buck in Wijnaldum’s five years on Merseyside.
And that’s something United will never be able to claim when it comes to Pogba, regardless of when his Red Devils career ends.
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