Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Paul Pogba ready to quit Manchester United: 'I'm ready for a new challenge'

Real Madrid thought to be the frontrunners for the French midfielder's signature should he leave Old Trafford this summer

Paul Pogba admits he is ready for a new challenge away from Manchester United. Reuters
Paul Pogba admits he is ready for a new challenge away from Manchester United. Reuters

Paul Pogba has put Real Madrid, Barcelona and former club Juventus on red alert that he could be available for transfer this summer after telling reporters in Tokyo he was ready for "a new challenge somewhere else".

The Manchester United midfielder has been continually linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer, with big-spending Real Madrid the frontrunners, according to British media, though Barcelona have been strongly linked in the past.

The chance to work with fellow Frenchman Zinedine Zidane at Real could be the deal clincher for the 26-year-old Pogba.

Pogba's time at United has coincided with some insipid performances on the pitch and organisational turmoil at the club, though 2018/19 was his most productive in terms of goals (16) while he also recorded 11 assists across competitions. He was also named in the PFA Team of the Year.

"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 at Old Trafford has been the subject of scrutiny for several months.

Pogba, who moved to United from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3 million (Dh414m) in August 2016, was involved in a long-running and very public feud with Jose Mourinho before the Portuguese was sacked in December.

Although his form initially picked up under Mourinho's replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club limped home to a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Premier League to miss out on Uefa Champions League football.

The prospect of another season playing outside Europe's elite club competition is said to have hastened Pogba's desire to quit the club, with reports that the player's agent, Mino Raiola, has already held talks with Real officials over a move to the Bernabeu.

Real are embarking on a summer outlay not seen since their Galactico days of the first decade of this century.

Eden Hazard became the club's record signing when he joined last week from Chelsea for around £90m with Luka Jovic (£54m), Eder Militao (£45m), Ferland Mendy (£43m) and Rodrygo (£40m) also moving to the Bernanbeu.

Pogba has a contact with United through to the summer of 2021 and it is unlikely the board would countenance any offers below £150m for the French World Cup winner, a figure that could be beyond even Real Madrid.

Updated: June 16, 2019 03:33 PM

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