It is now looking increasingly likely that Paul Pogba will leave Manchester United in January as the Frenchman has been stripped of his vice-captain role at the club. Pogba has voiced his disappointment at the style of football United have been playing on the pitch, which is another example of the breakdown between the midfielder and the manager.
If Pogba is allowed to leave the club, here are three players Jose Mourinho may be targeting to replace the midfielder.
Aston Villa winger Jack Grealish was linked with a move away from the Midlands club in the summer where Spurs were expected to put in a bid for the English youngster. A transfer away from Villa never materialised, though; therefore, the 23-year-old has had to start the season in the Championship where his side have made a somewhat positive start.
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The decision to remain at Villa may be a good move for Grealish as he is playing every week in a competitive league which includes some big clubs such as Swansea and Leeds, the two of which are fighting to get promoted back to the Premier League this season according to the Oddschecker preview of their recent clash. A move to Spurs last month may have slowed down Grealish’s progress as he may not have started much in Mauricio Pochettino’s team. By the time January comes around, he will have got more minutes under his belt and Mourinho may see him as a worthy investment.
Grealish is a player who is creative and is not afraid to take on the opposition. Therefore, in that respect, he would be a good replacement for Pogba. Given he is English, he is likely to cost in the region of £40 million, however, United can expect to cash in much more than that for their World Cup winner, so they would be in profit after the two deals were completed.
If Manchester United really do want to try and replace Pogba with another huge global star, then a bid for Antonie Griezmann could be possible in January. Pogba’s World Cup teammate has been at Atletico Madrid since 2014 and, in that time, he has gone on to become one the leading players in the world. The French forward can play in a number of positions, so he would give Mourinho options as to where he fields him.
Griezmann scored 29 goals for Atletico Madrid last season in all competitions. He was an integral part of the team that won the Europa League back in May, while he helped them reach the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016. Unfortunately, if United did sign him in January, he would be cup-tied in Europe and he would not be able to play for the club in the Champions League until next season.
United are likely to face competition from Barcelona for Griezmann, however, if the reds do sell Pogba to the Spanish champions, they are unlikely to be able to afford both players, so January may be a perfect time to do their business with the two French stars.
Frenkie de Jong
Dutchman Frenkie de Jong is only 21 years old, however, he has already established a reputation as being a world-class star of the future. The Ajax player started his career at Willem II before moving to the Amsterdam-based club in 2015. Despite his young age, he helped the club reach the 2017 Europa League final, where they were beaten by United.
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In the 2016/17 campaign, de Jong was named as the Jupiter League Player of the Season and, since then, he has been linked with a number of big clubs across Europe. Earlier this year he made his international debut for the Netherlands in a friendly win against Peru. Many people have tipped him to be a captain of his national team in the future.
De Jong has been valued in the region of £70 million, therefore, he is unlikely to come cheap. If the club are able to land the talented youngster, it would be some coup as he is sure to be one of the leading players in the world in the next couple of years.