According to Tuttosport, Manchester United could be offered Cristiano Ronaldo in exchange for Paul Pogba this summer.
It is the latest rumbling of a rumour that just won’t go away: the return of the prodigal son.
However, that would not solve the problem regarding Pogba. Because replacing one with the other would still mean United don’t make any money.
Pogba’s contract situation means United must say goodbye this summer or risk losing him for nothing in 2022. When you consider it cost £89million (BBC) to bring him back to Old Trafford, writing that off five years on is alarming.
But that is the situation United find themselves in. Pogba’s contract has run down and he would be within his rights to walk away in 2022.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. But a straight swap between Pogba and Ronaldo seems senseless.
Yes, it would be wonderful to see the Portuguese in a United shirt again. He may be 36, but he still knows where the goal is. In fact, he found the net once for every year he has been on the earth last season.
But United will then have an ageing star with no sell-on value. The hit they would take losing Pogba for free in 2022 would still exist.
And they would have a striker they arguably don’t need.
Edinson Cavani has agreed a one-year stay at United. What United need now is a right winger, a quality centre-back and a new holding midfielder.
Cash over romance
If Pogba makes it clear he is not signing a new deal, United need to sell, not swap. At least then they will have additional money to reinvest in the squad.
The loss of fans this season means United’s coffers are not as full as they once were. If, as expected, Jadon Sancho arrives, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men may struggle to spend big on another much-needed addition.
So here is the conundrum. Pogba stays and United cross their fingers. Hopefully the club win the league, thus persuading him to stay beyond 2022.
Or they sell now, in the knowledge that they will have to fund a move for a replacement…and hopefully have some left over for a defensive signing.
But swapping Pogba for Ronaldo? As wild as that would be, it could cause more problems than it solves.