Paul Pogba’s move to Manchester United is one which has managed to cram an entire summer’s worth of a saga into a few short weeks.
The general consensus is that, following the deals to bring in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the French international has become manager José Mourinho’s number one priority as he shapes his squad ahead of the new season.
The latest twist in the tale comes from the Mirror who, citing Italian sources, are claiming that Mourinho is to offer unwanted playmaker Juan Mata to Juventus in part-exchange in order to sweeten the £100m deal.
Mata only lasted a few months under Mourinho at Chelsea, and reports over the past number of weeks have suggested that Mourinho’s misgivings about Mata’s ability have remained – he has a preferred style of play and the 28 year old simply does not fit into that.
As such, he is likely to be sold, and despite interest from fellow Premier League side Everton, Mourinho is apparently quite happy to use the Spanish international as a makeweight in any potential deal for Pogba.
However, the report goes on to speculate that Juve are unlikely to go for the offer. While they do rate Mata, any deal with Manchester United (or, indeed, Real Madrid) would have to be solely a cash offer.
With the €32m of Roma’s Miralem Pjanić last month, the Bianconeri believe that they are now well-stocked in the playmaker department, and as such would be keen to instead use the £100m to find replacements for Pogba and Álvaro Morata.
With Pogba due back at Juventus from international duty within the next fortnight, there may soon be some significant progress on this transfer.
Alternatively, this deal (or lack thereof) could yet rumble on for a number of weeks. So we might have that to look forward to.
In the meantime, Pogba could be set to win his first major trophy at international level as his France side take on Portugal in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday night.
While Mata is probably on his way out of Old Trafford, meanwhile, it is unlikely that Juventus will be his next destination.