Paul Pogba is in the news today for the exact same reason Christian Eriksen was in the news a little while ago: because of a desire for a “new challenge.” Pogba rocked the Manchester United news cycle today by expressing in comments to the media that he’d be willing to leave United for a second time for a new opportunity.
“Like you said, there is a lot of talking and a lot of thinking as well. For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else.
“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well ... I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
Pogba’s future and Eriksen’s future are closely linked, mostly because of Real Madrid. It’s no secret that Madrid are trying to freshen up their midfield this offseason — Pogba has been considered their top midfield transfer target, with Eriksen a close second behind them. Both players have now indicated a willingness to leave their respective clubs and it may come down to what Madrid wants to do and who they want to go after.
But Madrid have already made several big-time acquisitions, including Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, and Ferland Mendy. It would take a significant amount of money to pry even a willing Pogba out of Manchester, just as it would take to purchase Eriksen from Spurs. It means, basically, that both players are waiting for Real Madrid to come after them.
There’s some indication that a move to Spain has been the plan for Pogba all along, according to football journalists on Twitter.
When Mino Raiola advised Paul Pogba to rejoin United in 2016 it was on the proviso he would try to get him to Spain after three years. #mufc have been adamant they won’t sell Pogba. He has two years left on his contract and the option of a one-year extension rests with United.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) June 16, 2019
And hilariously, the connections tying Pogba and Eriksen together are even closer than that, with the Evening Standard suggesting that if Pogba is sold that Eriksen might be considered one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top targets to replace him... though whether United would currently be considered a “new challenge” for Eriksen (and whether Spurs would be even remotely willing to sell Christian to a league rival) remains to be seen.
Obviously from a Spurs perspective the best overall outcome would be Pogba moving to Madrid and Eriksen deciding to commit his future to Tottenham. But we’ll probably have to wait to see who tips over the first domino and how they all fall before we know what happens.