Could Fede Valverde replace Paul Pogba at Man Utd?

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald
  • Updated: 20 May 2021 11:26 BST
  • 2 min read
Could Fede Valverde replace Paul Pogba at Man Utd?

Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United has been hot topic for almost the entirety of his second spell at Old Trafford.

The Frenchman, who started his career in the club’s youth ranks, was supposed to inspire them back to the summit of European football when he returned from Juventus in 2016.

However, his performances have been inconsistent since and, while the criticism levelled at him has been over the top at times, it has felt as though he is in the midst of a long goodbye.

His agent, Mino Raiola, is far from popular at United, having had many run-ins with Sir Alex Ferguson and more recently Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Earlier this season, when Pogba was out of the team and at his most unhappy, Raiola alluded to the fact he would be leaving the club.

Many fans have voiced their opinion that perhaps it is time for Pogba to depart, with a return to Juventus or Real Madrid mentioned as potential options.

Whenever Pogba is linked with an exit, United are linked with a replacement. Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish seems like an ideal candidate, but most recently, Real’s Fede Valverde is the man who has been thrust into the spotlight.

The Uruguayan, an international teammate of Edinson Cavani, is perhaps not as technically gifted as Pogba nor as much of a free spirit. But he may be perfect for adding more balance to Solskjaer’s midfield and perhaps allowing Bruno Fernandes even more license to impact games going forward.

Fred and Scott McTominay are obviously highly rated by the manager, but with Nemanja Matic past his prime years, signing the 22-year-old might just be an ideal signing. Valverde is flexible, too, able to sit at the base of a three in midfield or, as he more often does at Madrid, playing on the right in the centre.

But this one doesn’t seem very likely to happen. Firstly, a Pogba/Valverde swap deal is not being mooted, and that is the only way this would become a realistic proposition.

Real have been hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic when it comes to finances, and that could well rule them out of any move for Pogba, despite Zinedine Zidane remaining keen on a deal.

Secondly, Pogba’s mood and form at United has markedly improved in recent months, and at the top of his game, he is proving to be a real difference-maker in midfield . Talks over a new contract have been mooted.

When a player like Pogba is linked with a move, speculation can take on a life of its own.

The chances of bringing Valverde to Manchester United are likely to hinge on Real playing ball with the Frenchman, and that just doesn’t seem likely right now.