REAL MADRID

Pogba: Third time lucky for Real Madrid

Real Madrid will make a third attempt to sign Paul Pogba, Zinedine Zidane's most wanted prize. And this time the situation has never looked better.

Pogba: Third time luck for Real Madrid
CARL RECINE Action Images via Reuters

“Third time lucky,” as it is said. And if the saying is correct, Paul Pogba should end up at Real Madrid next season.

Given that Zinedine Zidane will continue in the bench next term (which, as this newspaper previously reported, is almost a certainty), Florentino Peréz will look to once again sign Pogba, who has been a long-time and ardent request of the French coach.

And after failed operations in 2016 and 2019, there is a real possibility that the move will happen this time. His agent, Mino Raiola's relationship with Real Madrid is at its best and Pogba is more receptive than ever to a change of scenery from Old Trafford.

Here, we take a look back at how Madrid’s first two attempts to sign the French star played out and how the third attempt is so far shaping up.

Pogba has been a long-time and ardent request of Zinedine Zidane.

Summer 2016: Pogba chooses Man Utd over Real Madrid

Real Madrid were in talks with Raiola and Juventus in Turin over the signing of Pogba, who was the player around whom Zidane wanted to build his first project from scratch ahead of his first full season as Madrid coach. At that time, although the player's desire was to join Madrid, the excessive financial demands of both he and his agent spoiled the operation.

The Football Leaks documents published by German outlet, Der Spiegel, later revealed that Manchester United paid Raiola a staggering 40 million euros, aside from the 105-million-euro fee paid to Juventus for the French international.

Pogba's influential agent, Mina Raiola.

Summer 2019: Man United’s demands to high for Real Madrid

Last summer there was another attempt by Real Madrid to satisfy Zidane’s request to sign Pogba. However, negotiations were affected by the bad relationship that had existed between Florentino Peréz and Raiola since that summer in 2016.

The financial demands, this time by Manchester United, were also a deterrent for Madrid, who had recently spent a combined 85 million euros on two youngsters, Vinicius (45 million) and Rodrigo (40 million), and 100 million euros on Eden Hazard. By his part, Pogba had lived up to his side of the bargain with his “it’s time for a new challenge” comments. But the move didn’t materialise and Hazard remained the only Galáctico signing of last summer.

Summer 2020: All roads lead to the Bernabéu

Third time lucky: The situation has never looked better in Real Madrid’s quest to sign Pogba. The Frenchman’s contract ends in 2021, meaning United will need to renew his deal or sell him to ensure a decent profit. Yes, the Frenchman has signed a clause which allows United to extend his stay by one year. But if they were to execute that option, it would only cause further discontent for Pogba, leaving United with a seriously unhappy star for one more season.

Raiola's relationship with Solskjaer is at its worst and Pogba, who also shared a chat with Zidane in Dubai a few months ago, is determined to leave if there is a knock on his door. Provided there is some return to normalcy after the coronavirus crisis, all indications are that Pogba, devalued by that same crisis as well as injuries that have only allowed him to play eight games this season, will end up at Real Madrid.