Manchester United have been handed a boost in their bid to keep Paul Pogba as Real Madrid are reportedly not prepared to shell out for the midfielder.
Pogba was linked with a move to Madrid throughout last summer, with Real’s head coach Zinedine Zidane known to be an admirer of his fellow Frenchman.
Speculation has been rife that Real’s interest in the 26-year-old would be revived in January – and the transfer talk was ramped up when Pogba was omitted from the matchday squad for United’s win over Burnley on Saturday.
However, Real Madrid chiefs have told Zidane they are not willing to fund a move for the World Cup winner, according to Spanish publication AS.
That is because of the form of 21-year-old midfielder Fede Valverde, whose value has skyrocketed since he broke into the Madrid team.
Madrid’s money men reportedly do not see the sense in paying up what they anticipate to be around £130million for Pogba, whose contract with United expires in June 2021 – although the Red Devils do have the option to extend his deal by a further year.
Valverde was signed for just over £4m – but his performances have seen his transfer value soar to £45m, according to stats website Transfermarkt .
Real bosses reckon the Uruguayan ace is the future of the club’s midfield, and so are looking to save a huge sum by opting against a move for Pogba.
The news will come as welcome boost to United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has always maintained that Pogba is an important part of his plans.
While Pogba’s absence against Burnley raised eyebrows ahead of the January transfer window opening next week, Solskjaer explained that the game had simply come too soon for the midfielder after his 45-minute appearance against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Pogba had made just his second appearance since September in that 4-1 victory over the Magpies at Old Trafford three days ago as he continues his comeback from an ankle injury that kept him out for three months.