According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Goal.com translated from French as a bilingual) on Friday, if Paris Saint-Germain want to sign their priority target Paul Pogba of Juventus in this summer’s transfer window, then they will have to part with one or both of Marco Verratti and Lucas Moura as well as money.
The alternative to swapping both players and a smaller sum of money is thought to be the Italian international and €50 million.
PSG’s interest in Pogba is understandable. He is one of the world’s most talented young players, plays in a position that the French champions arguably still need to strengthen in and, more importantly, he is French.
Pogba, who is also the subject of interest from former club Manchester United, is set to put pen to paper on a new deal to ward off any potential suitors, according to reports from the Mirror’s Ed Malyon earlier this month.
However the 20-year-old, who has risen to prominence over the past two seasons with the Italian giants, has not yet signed the deal.
Juventus making these sorts of demands for a player who is courting this level of interest, while remaining on a contract that does not reflect his status within the side, is highly unrealistic.
PSG would benefit massively from signing the senior French international but, at that price, simple logic should tell them that he is not worth the sacrifices that the Italian champions are asking for.
Moura and Verratti, in particular, are too important for the side from the French capital to just gift to a European rival. Two top-class players and money in exchange for one is not sensible business.
The diminutive Italian midfielder is a key player in Laurent Blanc’s current side, more so than Lucas, who has been in and out of the team so far this season, so letting him go would not solve the problem of needing to have two players to cover every position in the starting XI.
Blanc has turned PSG into a possession-based side that thrives thanks to a three-man midfield unit that is able to dominate possession in the same way that Barcelona and Bayern Munich do.
However, the vital central-midfield trio of Verratti, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi has been run into the ground this season thanks to Adrien Rabiot’s recent knee injury and Javier Pastore’s inability to function as a central midfielder.
Yohan Cabaye’s recent move from English Premier League side Newcastle United added some much-needed depth in that area. But even with his arrival and Rabiot’s return to fitness, PSG only have five players genuinely capable of playing in the three-man unit.
In order to be at the same level of squad depth as their continental rivals, the Parisians arguably need one more player to posses the adequate depth needed to challenge on all fronts.
Perhaps the French champions could get away with having one less option in the front three, which is why Moura as part of a deal for Pogba would make some sense. The Brazilian international is by no means a bit-part player though, and he has contributed three league goals and seven assists so far this season.
Also, with Jeremy Menez set to leave at the end of his contract this summer, there will be one less option in the same area where Lucas operates, while Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore’s futures are far from certain at present. Defender Alex is also out of contract in June.
Because of these anticipated departures, there is no doubt that PSG will be busy in this summer’s transfer market and Pogba is believed to be their priority signing. Mino Raiola’s status as the Frenchman’s agent and his close ties with PSG have also fanned the flames of speculation.
However, it makes little sense for the Ligue 1 leaders to sacrifice two important players for one, when there are already five players who can play in the same position as him.
Considering that Juventus are reportedly asking for €70 million, but the player has not yet renewed his contract on better terms, the chances are high that the Italians have missed their chance to make such outrageous demands and actually get what they want.
With such interest in the French star, it seems unlikely that he would agree to ink new terms if they were not extremely favourable towards his chances of joining one of the big clubs currently chasing his signature.
Any minimum fee release clause inserted into the potential new deal will surely be worth substantially less than €70 million.
PSG could actually benefit from letting Pogba sign a new contract with Juventus.
Such a deal would guarantee the Italians a relatively generous fee in exchange for their blossoming talent, but it would also ensuring that the French giants do not need to part with either Verratti or Motta. That would be smart business.