Lionel Messi has named Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba as a replacement for Paulinho at Barcelona, amid reports of a possbile departure from Camp Nou.
Spanish publication Don Balon are speculating that Lionel Messi has counselled the Barcelona board to secure the services of Paul Pogba from Manchester United to replace Paulinho, with the Brazilian international being reported to be sold this summer.
Paul Pogba became a megastar in England, ever since he joined Manchester United from Juventus on a then-transfer record move in the summer of 2016. Over the last two seasons, the Frenchman has been one of the most influential players for Red Devils, aiding their revival in domestic football while also winning the Europa League in 2017.
In the 2017-18 season though, Manchester United struggled to function well as a unit with Pogba in the middle. Furthermore, the Frenchman also failed to adapt to the 4-2-3-1 formations and the defensive obligations that come with it. Hence, it was reported that Pogba was had a fallout with Jose Mourinho for not being deployed more advanced positions.
Regardless of the distractions though, Pogba managed to have a decent campaign as he bagged 12 assists and 6 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions last season. However, the Red Devils have reportedly made themselves ready to hear offers and may offload him in this summer, which has piqued the interests of several clubs.
Barcelona are among the clubs that seem interested in signing the 25-year-old midfielder after following the advice by Messi, with Paulinho rumoured to leave Camp Nou this summer only a year after signing for Blaugrana in a €40 million deal, with the Brazilian international featuring on the list of potential outgoings this summer.
Ernesto Valverde is set for a squad overhaul, as he looks to create a solid Barcelona squad that will be able to become genuine Champions League contenders next season.
The Brazilian international’s possible departure from Camp Nou will create a void of physicality in midfield, which the player brought last season and helped Barcelona at crucial moments. Messi has thus, recommended the Manchester United midfielder to the Barcelona board, as the 25-year-old will bring similar physicality and pace in midfield with a better control on the ball.
Pogba’s potential arrival will further fortify Valverde’s midfield options, with Arthur Melo set to join the squad in the summer transfer window as well. The duo, if Pogba joins, will beef up the Barcelona manager’s options considerably, providing him a wealth of options in the middle of the park.
Any possible transfer – either Paulinho’s or Pogba’s is only likely to move forward after the end of Brazil and France’s respective campaigns. But, the Manchester United midfielder is certainly a viable target, with his success with N’Golo Kante at the international level likely to provide a good enough indication of his ability to combine with Sergio Busquets at Barcelona.