Date published: Thursday 8th April 2021 6:32 – Samuel Bannister
Paul Pogba was among the other topics of discussion when Erling Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola met with Barcelona, a report claims.
Raiola and Haaland’s father Alf-Inge recently went on a tour of the Borussia Dortmund’s potential suitors. The striker is one of the most in-demand players ahead of the summer transfer market. And the first club his camp held talks with was Barcelona.
Raiola and Haaland senior met with Barca president Joan Laporta, who has just returned to the club. The new chief wants to show his intentions to restore the club to their former glories.
Hence, he and other club officials held talks with the Haaland camp to see what it might take to sign him. In return, Raiola and company wanted to find out how willing they may be.
But it appears the two-and-a-half-hour discussion did not just centre around Haaland. According to OK Diario, three more Raiola clients came into the conversation.
Pogba was one of the other names brought into the talks. Raiola has previously issued a strong statement that the midfielder will be leaving Manchester United in the summer.
The Frenchman will have just one year left on his contract by that point. His agent has since clarified his comments but made it clear at the time that he was thinking of finding a new club.
Pogba has responded well on the pitch for United since then, so they will be keen to keep hold of him. It is not yet clear if he will sign a new contract, though – even if he is open to doing so.
Therefore, other clubs will be monitoring the situation, and it seems Barcelona may be one of them.
Pogba’s previous suitors were thought to be Juventus and Real Madrid. However, the race to sign him may widen if Barcelona are responsive to Raiola’s suggestions.
Also on the agenda were Dutch defenders Stefan De Vrij and Matthijs De Ligt. Both currently play in Serie A with Inter and Juventus respectively, but the latter was a possible target for Barca before he moved there.
The report from OK Diario clarifies that Barcelona will not be able to afford Haaland. However, they “committed” in the meeting to take some of Raiola’s other clients.
Barca want to make it as difficult as possible for rivals Real Madrid to sign Haaland, and also want to strengthen their own squad. Hence, they could consider bidding for the likes of Pogba.
Laporta has made it clear that Barcelona cannot afford players who are worth more than €100m. But even though United spent more than that on Pogba in 2016, the World Cup winner is worth less now due to the lack of time left on his contract.
Pogba’s agent recently gave an explosive interview in which he discussed the perception of the midfielder’s time in Manchester.
Asked if Pogba was underappreciated in England, Raiola told The Athletic: “It depends if you mean appreciated by the fans or by the professionals in the game. Because if you mean the professionals, I talk to a lot of sporting directors, managers, trainers and he is widely appreciated.
“I always say there is only one truth in everything. It’s not what I think, it’s not what you think, it’s what the market thinks. So the day that Paul Pogba doesn’t have a club anymore, then he would not be appreciated or under-appreciated.
“But today, if somebody asks me, ‘Can you find a club for Paul?’ I could take my nephew of five (years old) and find a club for Paul at a high level.
“Again, 50 per cent of people like you, 50 per cent hate you. But Paul has fantastic appeal worldwide. Maybe the bother with the big transfer, the strange story of going away for free and then coming back for that money, was something that people were not used to. Maybe that haunted him for a little bit of time.
“But I think that he should be appreciated overall. I heard from the club side that he is, at least, and from Solskjaer’s side. So that’s the only thing that matters.”
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