Belfast Telegraph

Pogba tops Juve hit list as United eye Wan-Bissaka

Wanted man: United’s Paul Pogba looks set for a move
Wanted man: United’s Paul Pogba looks set for a move

By Simon Peach

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici says the club "love" Paul Pogba amid speculation linking the Manchester United midfielder with a return to Turin.

There has been intense speculation about the 26-year-old's Old Trafford happiness and last weekend he admitted he was considering "a new challenge somewhere else".

Real Madrid have a long-standing interest in Pogba and Juventus are interested in bringing back the France midfielder, three years after selling him to United for a then world-record fee of £89million.

Juventus sporting director Paratici was asked about Pogba, who won four Serie A titles with the club between 2012 and 2016, and Paris St Germain's Adrien Rabiot, as new manager Maurizio Sarri was unveiled yesterday.

"They are very good players," he said. "Pogba plays at Manchester United, we love him a lot of course because he played here for several years.

"He grew here a lot, and became world champion, so he certainly gave us a lot but he is a player of Manchester United."

United still expect Pogba to be at the club next season, with a massive offer required for that stance to waver.

Romelu Lukaku's future is also up in the air, with the striker being linked with a move to Antonio Conte's Inter Milan, while questions remain over the future of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and David De Gea.

Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia are leaving the club this summer on free transfers, but Juan Mata signed a two-year deal, with the option of another, on Wednesday.

Swansea's Daniel James is the only summer acquisition so far but work is afoot to bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad before pre-season gets under way on July 1.

United are pushing to sign Crystal Palace and England Under-21s right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, while Leicester's Harry Maguire is of interest as they attempt to improve at centre-back.

Meanwhile, Wan-Bissaka's head is "bound to" have been turned by Manchester United's interest, according to England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd.

The Crystal Palace defender appears to be closing in on a move to Old Trafford but suffered a nightmare against France on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old's injury-time own goal condemned the Young Lions to an opening Euro 2019 defeat in Italy as he failed to impress in the 2-1 loss. Talks between United and Palace over a deal, likely to be over £50million, are ongoing and Boothroyd admitted the speculation may have affected Wan-Bissaka.

"For a young player who all he knows is Crystal Palace academy and Crystal Palace it would be daft not to say that in some way he must think about it," said Boothroyd, ahead of tonight's must-win game against Romania.

"I would not be truthful if I told you anything other than that. What I will say is because he doesn't say too much you don't get to find out too much. Aaron keeps things to himself."

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