We watched with interest as transfer deadline day drew to a close in the Premier League to see if there were any takers for Gareth Bale or whether Manchester United would sign someone - which allow them to sell Paul Pogba (yesterday’s window closed for buying players, not selling them). However, nothing happened on either of those two fronts. We had a few nervous minutes when the 5pm deadline was extended so that five operations could go through, but it turned out that none of those deals were related to clubs here in Spain. And so another door closes for Bale, after the transfer window in China closed for business at the end of last month. There’s still a chance that a club in Italy could table an offer – or maybe Bayern, who would be willing to take him on loan. It’s a sad state of affairs for a player who arrived to such great fanfare.
Pogba going nowhere
As for Pogba - considering that Premier League clubs cannot buy players until the next window - but can still sell, United made no move whatsoever yesterday that might have prompted his release. During the past few weeks, names such as Bruno Fernandes, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Christian Eriksen have been mentioned as possible replacements. But if United haven’t ended up signing any of them - and that suggests that they don’t see Pogba leaving. Pogba is keen to come here, Zidane wants him here, but Florentino has been dragging his feet. He had his heart set on Eriksen, a player more to his liking and as a possible successor to Luka Modric, who turns 34 next month.
Raising cash by selling Rakitic
Barça meanwhile also have a couple of issues yet to be resolved – if Ivan Rakitic finally leaves and Neymar returns. Landing Neymar could turn into a battle between Real Madrid and Barça but it’s not going to be easy at all to prise him away from PSG. As for Rakitic, he asked for a pay rise after Croatia ended runners-up at last year’s World Cup. Bartomeu promised he would get one thus summer, but now he finds himself at 31, with two years to run on his contract and at a club with a surplus of midfielders, so the ideal thing would be to sell him. Valverde wants him to stay because he always plays well, never causes any problems and is hardly ever injured but the club views him as asset to cash in on. We now know that he won’t be going to the Premier League but Barça are hoping that a decent offer may still come in from Italy.