Barcelona are reportedly intent on having a scout at every Manchester United game this season as they step up their interest in Paul Pogba.
According to Richard Tanner and John Cross of the Daily Mirror, the Blaugrana are not ready to give up their pursuit of United’s record signing following interest this summer and will be keeping an eye on his development over the remainder of the campaign.
“Barcelona’s hierarchy—general manager Pep Segura and technical directors Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes—are keeping close tabs on the situation ahead of making a £100 million-plus move,” Tanner and Cross reported. “Barcelona believe Pogba is keen to move to Spain next summer, having failed with an attempt to get him in the last window.”
The Blaugrana are said to view the midfielder as a “primary target” for the summer of 2019. Pogba’s relationship with manager Jose Mourinho has also reportedly been difficult, although it’s said a “truce” has been called between the pair for the remainder of the term.
The Blaugrana reportedly had scouts at United’s UEFA Champions League clash against Young Boys on Wednesday, in which Pogba netted two goals in a 3-0 win.
The 25-year-old’s second goal came from the penalty spot, and his first was a wonderful strike, as BT Sport Football shared:
Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball
“This boy’s got talent coming out of every pore!” 🙌
Paul Pogba with the 5️⃣⭐️ weak foot!
A goal straight out of the top drawer for Man Utd last night 😍 https://t.co/QjXB4rp9Ku
Pogba has started the campaign well in terms of productivity, as he’s netted four times already this season. Three of those strikes have been penalties, and he could have had one more, but his effort from the spot was saved by Joe Hart against Burnley.
Per Tanner, there was a lot of buzz about Pogba’s future during the summer and especially Barcelona’s supposed interest in him. United kept their man, and he appears on course for a strong campaign.
As James Robson of the Evening Standard noted, Mourinho looks to have handled the player well after a testing spell:
James Robson @jamesrobsonES
A lot made of Mourinho’s (lack of) man-management in recent times.
The Pogba issue could have erupted this season.
There are clearly still issues, but Mourinho has been faultless in his treatment of him in the first weeks of the campaign #mufc
If Barcelona were to launch a successful raid on Old Trafford for Pogba next summer, then it would be fascinating to see where he would fit in at the Camp Nou.
Manager Ernesto Valverde has already made major midfield reinforcements this year, landing the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Arthur and Arturo Vidal. However, given the money they would have to pay for Pogba, the France international would surely become a key man.
United will not want to part with a footballer who can light up games when he’s in the right mindset. Sports writer Daniel Harris outlined his frustration with the player:
Daniel Harris @DanielHarris
Pogba does my absolute nut. For the second time in five days he strolls about doing nothing, then steps it up and the game gets settled. If he can apply himself for 90 minutes he can be a great.
Following on from a successful FIFA World Cup with France, when Pogba was a vital man in Les Bleus’ triumph, this season was always going to be a crucial one for the former Juventus star.
The signs have been good for the United man, but if Barcelona monitor his progress firsthand for the rest of the season, speculation about a possible swoop next summer will continue to simmer.