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Report: Paul Pogba 'In Focus' of Real Madrid; Player Wants Transfer

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 25: Paul Pogba of France  during the  EURO Qualifier match between France  v Iceland  at the Stade de France on March 25, 2019 in Paris France (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid are reportedly ready to intensify their efforts to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

According to Jose Felix Diaz of Marca, the midfielder is "in focus" at the Santiago Bernabeu, as Los Blancos look to strengthen their squad for next season.

Diaz reported that while previously problems have existed between the France international's agent, Mino Raiola, and Real Madrid, the relationship has been mended and the chances of a transfer have consequently been enhanced.

"In the two conversations that were held between the...agent and Madrid's men in power, Raiola conveyed the desire of his client wanting to leave United and join Los Blancos," Diaz said. "... [Real manager] Zinedine Zidane likes Pogba and has never hidden that fact. Having returned as head coach, he could finally be united with the midfielder."

As football journalist Yousef Teclab shared, the story about Madrid's interest in Pogba made it on to the front page of Marca:

Yousef Teclab @yousef_teclab

Front page of tomorrow's @marca intensifying the Paul Pogba to Real Madrid links. https://t.co/wVOa22skbw

On Saturday, Zidane said he is also a fan of the player, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane on Pogba: “I like the player a lot, that is news. I know him personally. He is a truly different player, few players can do what he can. A midfielder who can defend, attack, build the play. But he is not my player, is at Manchester [United], so we must respect that."

While Madrid are said to be ready to make a move for the player, the Frenchman is also reportedly ready for a change of scenery.

According to Diaz, Pogba feels "uncomfortable" at United. While he has excelled under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the midfielder had a testing relationship with previous boss Jose Mourinho, something that's said to have left him looking at other options.

During the recent international break, Pogba was asked about the Santiago Bernabeu club.

"Real Madrid is one of the biggest clubs in the world," the former Juventus man said, per BBC Sport. "I've always said it is a dream club for every player."

Solskjaer was appointed as United boss on a permanent basis on Thursday and has made it clear he doesn't envisage Pogba or Marcus Rashford, who has been linked with Barcelona, going anywhere. "They are vital for our future," he said, per James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph.

As Total Barca relayed, Marca's report is not the first linking Madrid with a big-money swoop for Pogba:

totalBarça @totalBarca

L'Equipe devotes its front cover today to Real Madrid and their summer spending spree. 500 Million for Hazard, M'bappe and Pogba. Doesn't seem like enough cash! https://t.co/dgjoTeEy9P

While Pogba has endured some fluctuations in form during his time at Old Trafford, since Solskjaer arrived in mid-December, he has played some of the best football of his career.

Under the Norwegian he's been given more freedom, and Pogba has rewarded his boss with game-changing contributions on a regular basis. Sky Sports Statto summed up the transformation in his game:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⚽️@ManUtd's Paul Pogba has 14 @premierleague goal involvements this season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared to 6 under Jose Mourinho Under Solskjaer 1⃣3⃣apps 8⃣ goals 6⃣ assists Under Mourinho 1⃣4⃣ apps 3⃣ goals 3⃣ assists https://t.co/FywJSqACbr

Although they have had a challenging campaign, Real Madrid have a gravitas few teams can match. Given Zidane, an icon in French football, has returned for a second spell as manager, the appeal of a move to the Spanish capital is clear for a player like Pogba.

Still, United will surely do all they can to ensure the interest from Madrid doesn't go any further, as they will want to help Solskjaer get off to a strong start as full-time boss. An extraordinary sum of money will need to be on the table before the Red Devils consider a sale.