Louis van Gaal has only just rounded off a summer of big spending in his first season in charge of Manchester United, but talk of a £60 million move for Paul Pogba in 2015 suggests next year will see more of the same.
According to reports in France, Juventus are hopeful of agreeing a new deal with Pogba but would rather sell him next summer as opposed to losing him on a free transfer in 2016.
[...] However, if the two parties cannot come to an agreement then United are set to swoop for the £60m-rated star.
The Frenchman was highly rated as a top European prospect when he left Old Trafford and has since gone on to prove himself as one of the continent's leading central midfielders.
Negotiations over Pogba's contract, which expires in 2016, will likely hold the key to his future, as reported by Harris. He quotes Bianconeri chief executive Beppe Marotta saying of ongoing talks: "Pogba? We have had some negotiation with his agents, we hope to arrive at a positive conclusion shortly."
|2013-14||Juventus||36 (Serie A)||7||11|
|2012-13||Juventus||27 (Serie A)||0||5|
|2011-12||Manchester United Reserves||16 (Reserves League)||3||6|
|Manchester United||3 (Premier League)||3||3|
Since moving to Serie A, the 21-year-old has gone about perfecting his craft and fulfilling a lot of that potential placed upon him, tracing back to his days at French club Le Havre.
Pogba has been a key figure in Juve's last two Scudetto triumphs, making 66 Serie A appearances since 2012 and scoring 12 goals in the Italian top flight.
In hindsight, United may wish they gave Pogba the first-team chances he desired under Sir Alex Ferguson's watch. The Times' James Ducker insists the risk then would have saved them a lot of money in future:
I'm not saying Pogba exit was 100pc avoidable (not with Raiola involved) but he was the jewel in the crown from a youth perspective & to— James Ducker (@DuckerTheTimes) September 3, 2014
And perhaps United wouldn't be needing to spend so much now on midfield if Pogba hadn't left under Ferguson/Phelan watch #mufc— James Ducker (@DuckerTheTimes) September 3, 2014
Pogba fits the bill of the box-to-box midfield talent United have been crying out for. In recent years, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Tom Cleverley and others have each attempted to satisfy their engine-room needs.
All have fallen short in one way or another.
The big-money acquisitions of Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Radamel Falcao helped in tiding Manchester United's summer spend over the £150 million mark this summer. That amounts to more than one-sixth of the Premier League's net expenditure, per The Telegraph.
In time, the club will learn whether those investments are worth the trouble, but so severe is their current predicament that it's clear money is required to set things back on course.
Van Gaal is looking to steer United back into the English hierarchy, and any Pogba deal would be affected by whether they can clinch a place in next season's Champions League.
For Pogba to be signed for a fee as vast as £60 million, it would take a mighty swallowing of pride for United, but then those are the sacrifices they seemingly feel are required to restore their former success.