Serie A Juventus are considering either terminating the contract of Paul Pogba or selling him at the end of the season. They are furious at the fact that the French midfielder has yet to play a single minute for them after re-joining the club from Manchester United last summer.
He continues to struggle with the knee injury that also forced him to miss the World Cup with France, and the club are unhappy with his social media activity as well.
What was meant to be a dream return to the club where he enjoyed some of his greatest success, is fast becoming a nightmare, and another headache for Juventus, in what has already become a difficult season for the Serie A club.
They have already been deducted 15 points by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for transfer irregularities and are under investigation by UEFA as well.
It was not meant to have turned out this way.
Many Juventus supporters were delighted when Pogba re-joined the club last summer for a fee of £31 million.
They fondly remembered his first spell at the club between 2012 and 2016, during which time they won four successive league titles, the Italian Cup, and the Super Cup twice. They also reached the Champions League final with him in the team in 2015.
He moved to Manchester United for what was a world record fee at the time, but rarely showed his best form for the Premier League side, and barely featured in his final season with the club due to injury. During his six years back in Manchester, he missed more than 100 games with various injuries.
If that was a warning to Juventus, they did not heed it, and signed him again anyway, hoping he could help them recapture past glories.
However, he picked up a knee injury in pre-season training, and has not played a minute for the club this season.
Initially he declined to have surgery on the knee, believing that it would harm his chances of being selected for the French squad for the World Cup in Qatar. Belatedly he did have an operation, ruling him out anyway, but in the eyes of the club and its supporters, he had put his own interests above that of the team.
With news that his return has been further delayed with complications following his knee surgery, patience with the Frenchman is wearing thin.
Juve cannot afford to carry passengers
All this comes at a time when Juve’s problems are mounting off the field, with the club having posted record losses at the end of last year, and their entire board resigning in the wake of the various scandals that the club is facing.
Although they have appealed the 15 point deduction, as it stands they are 13th in the Serie A table, and unlikely to qualify for the Champions League next season, something which will cause further damage to their beleaguered balance sheet.
In that context Pogba’s annual salary worth over £7 million plus bonuses, is starting to look a very expensive and ill-advised investment.
Pogba’s social media activity has not endeared him to the club either, He appears to enjoy more enjoyment acting as an influencer than a football player, and images of him dancing to music have done little to endear him to the club’s millions of fans.
Options for Juventus
Juventus are considering now terminating his contract altogether at the end of the season, or selling him to a less physical league like the MLS.
Either way, Pogba is going to end up the net winner from this.
If they cancel his contract, they are going to have to pay him a good deal of what remains on it as compensation, and he will then become a free agent. That means whoever signs him will not have to pay a transfer fee, so he can expect a healthy signing-on bonus as a result.
On the other hand if they sell him to a lesser league like the MLS, Juventus will be unable to recoup much of what they paid for him in the first place, and Pogba will be a big fish in a small pond, and can be expected to be recompensed accordingly.
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