Manchester United have been told to replace Paul Pogba with James Maddison as it will be a ‘clever’ move for the Red Devils.
That is the belief of journalist Duncan Castles who believes that the Leicester City man is ‘far less problematic’ than Pogba.
The World Cup winner has been constantly linked with a move to Real Madrid with the Los Blancos desperate to add him to the list of Galacticos.
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And, according to some reports, United are scouting 22-year-old Maddison to fill the void left by Pogba at Old Trafford which according to Castles will be a clever move.
“I think if Manchester United can get a deal in place for James Maddison, that would be a very good way for them to go forward,” Castles said on The Transfer Window podcast.
“He had a very good first season in the Premier League, he’s English which is a huge attraction to any Premier League team, he could add that creativity in midfield and I think importantly he could be the player to replace a lot of the creativity they’ll lose if Real Madrid get their way and sign Paul Pogba this summer.
“What I can tell you is that Madrid are confident that they can get a deal in place for Pogba. They had a transfer meeting last week to firm up their proposed squad for next season and the conclusion was Hazard will be part of that squad, they’re sure they have that deal in place and he should be coming.
“The next important high-profile signing is to be Paul Pogba. They think, and I quote, it is really possible they’ll get the player. They’re doing that on the basis that Pogba wants to get out, he’s stated that himself.”
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He further went on to add: “Mino Raiola, his agent, would want that deal to happen. They see this kind of dysfunction within Manchester United and think they can exploit it and they believe that they can do it with a cash-plus-player deal and are prepared to offer a number of players from their squad to Manchester United in the hope that they bite on one or two of those and can get the overall transfer fee down.
“Gareth Bale is a very important candidate as one of the players they think they can convince Ed Woodward to take, which will be an interesting test case because we know that Woodward has tried to sign Bale on multiple occasions before and has always been stymied, either by the player or by Real Madrid.
“But in this case, he now has the opportunity to do it. The suggestion and the briefing has been that Manchester United are not convinced about Bale anymore, I think for logical reasons that he has spent much of his last few years in Madrid injured and his commitment towards the game is very much in question.
“And of course he comes with a huge salary of €22m net. So an expensive, very expensive addition and questionable addition to the squad.
“But Madrid think they can do something there and I guess if you’re looking at Ed Woodward’s history in the transfer market, then you would always say there is the possibility of persuading someone to make a headline by a guy who would have great commercial resonance for the club and could be sold as ‘look, look at what we’re doing. We are bringing one of the best players in the world back to the club, even if we’re losing Paul Pogba as part of the deal.’
“So that’s a suggestion. Theo Hernandez is the left-back who they don’t have a slot for in the squad because Zidane wants to keep Marcelo and they have a deal in place to bring Ferland Mendy, the French international left-back, over.
“There’s been suggestions that they would offer Isco to United. I’m told Zidane wants to keep Isco as part of his squad, so that’s probably off the agenda.
“But I think the most important thing here is you will see Madrid going to full efforts to bring Pogba to United and United are gonna have to make a decision on whether they say no to that and persist with Pogba for another season, with all the problems he’s caused to both managers he’s had this year.
“Or whether they say ‘right, it’s time to cash in on that player. We made a mistake, we can still get a significant value for him and from Real Madrid. We can take his very large wage off our wage bill and we can allocate that money elsewhere to rebuild.’
“And as I’m saying, if they can get Maddison in, who would cost a fraction of Pogba’s wages and as a transfer fee I think you’d be looking at £60m for Maddison – that’s not cheap for the age of player – but if you can provide as many goals as he has done for Leicester in the Manchester United team then that would be a clever deal and would be a far less problematic player to have in your squad than Pogba.”