The two midfielders’ futures have been interlinked all year, given both have made clear their desire to leave, and both see Real Madrid as a first preference.
It is now possible that the Spanish club go for neither, and Pogba’s future remains up in the air amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, but United have been making some contingency plans.
United will also push ahead with a £50m bid for Sporting’s prolific goalscoring midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
Eriksen – whose contract with Tottenham runs out next year – would serve as an almost perfect alternative, and arguably an upgrade given their comparative productivity over the last few years.
The Dane doesn’t have the commercial appeal of Pogba, however, which has played into the difference in price and status.
Eriksen and his camp would be put off by the fact United are not in the Champions League, but the Old Trafford feel they may be able to leverage the situation if there is no movement – and no new contract – before the window ends. The saga is likely to run right until the end of the window.
Just as with Pogba, the possibility of Eriksen staying at Tottenham is not impossible, as he has a huge contract offer on the table with a club in a much better position than United right now.
United will meanwhile persist with the pursuits of Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff as well as Fernandes.