A Tuttosport article (h/t Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star) claims the Blues have already sought to get negotiations going over a transfer in an attempt to jump to the head of the queue in pursuit of Pogba. It’s suggested Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Real Madrid are also interested, and Juve value the player at £80 million.
Turrell claims that, according to Tuttosport, Blues owner Roman Abramovich “has ordered staff at the Premier League outfit to work on a deal for Pogba.”
To have that cast of clubs chasing you, you need to be a pretty special player. Here’s why Pogba warrants that kind of tag:
The Frenchman continues to blossom into one of the standout midfielders in world football and has shown a willingness to take on more responsibility in the iconic No. 10 Bianconeri jersey this season.
In terms of playing style, there’s not much Pogba can’t do. The 22-year-old is technical, physical and intelligent in all aspects of his play, while his ability to drive forward with the ball and open the pitch up makes him a huge threat in stretched games.
As we can see here courtesy of WhoScored.com, he’s also willing to try his hand from distance:
Paul Pogba: Has had more shots (23) than any other player without a goal in the Champions League this season #UCL— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 24, 2016
If Chelsea were to muscle in ahead of the aforementioned names and land the Frenchman, then it’d be a monumental coup. After all, all of the sides named are arguably better prospects than the Blues at the moment—the Londoners are unlikely to be in the UEFA Champions League next season, and it’s still unclear who their manager will be for the 2016-17 campaign.
Indeed, while Chelsea are a juggernaut of modern football, if Pogba is to leave Turin, it’ll surely be for one of the most illustrious teams in the game and a club who can immediately offer him football at the absolute highest level. The Blues, at this juncture, can’t guarantee that.
Napoli Expecting Gonzalo Higuain Offers
Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri has conceded that clubs will come calling for Gonzalo Higuain at the end of the season, with Chelsea linked with a move for the striker.
The former Real Madrid man has been in magnificent form in Serie A this season, and according to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, having failed in an offer for the 28-year-old midseason, Chelsea will go back in for him again in the summer.
Sarri, speaking ahead of Napoli’s clash with Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League, claimed he wouldn’t be surprised, per Goal.com’s Dejan Kalinic:
I do not read the rumours and I do not know anything, but I think there will be even more offers than from those clubs.
At this point, I have left the choice completely up to Higuain whether or not he plays against Villarreal. It will be up to him to decide.
Maybe he’ll want to respond to these rumours and answer his critics, but I don’t understand how anyone can find fault in a player who has scored 26 goals this season and shown he is a genuine star.
In the end, its just building up a story that does not need to exist.
Cross claims Chelsea’s first-choice striker Diego Costa is keen to leave the club at the end of the season for Atletico Madrid and the Blues view Higuain as an ideal replacement.
He’s got the quality to thrive in the Premier League should he replicate his form from this term, per Squawka Football:
Gonzalo Higuaín's Serie A season by numbers:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 22, 2016
33 chances created
22.9% conversion rate
Which player would be better up front for Chelsea next season?
Again, much depends on which manager Chelsea ultimately appoint. Some coaches prefer a battering-ram-style striker leading the attack such as Costa, while others prefer the more technical, predatory qualities of a player like Higuain.
Until the new coach is determined, it’d be a huge surprise to see the Blues pursue Higuain. The Argentina international is in superb fettle this season because Sarri is playing a system to bring the best out of his talents, and while the striker is supremely gifted, he might not be quite so effective in a different setup.