Real Madrid made an unusual demand of transfer target Paul Pogba before he joined Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East.
United chiefs had worried Pogba wouldn’t show for the tour after his agent Mino Raiola appeared to confirm he wanted a transfer, with speculation ramping up of a move to either Real or Juventus .
But Pogba did travel with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad – although it is understood the midfielder’s transfer stance has not changed , and United recognise they may be forced to sell the player they value at £150million.
And it has now emerged that it was actually Real Madrid who told Pogba to go on the tour, making it clear to the midfielder they don’t want him to cause problems for the Red Devils hierarchy.
Pogba was among a 28-man squad that flew to Perth on Sunday to begin United’s two-and-a-half week tour of Australia and the Far East.
And according to Spanish publication AS , La Liga giants Madrid do not want any conflict with United that could scupper the negotiations, especially with Serie A kings Juventus also keen on their former player.
The publication reports that Real boss Zinedine Zidane sees the signing of fellow Frenchman Pogba as the cornerstone of his plans to restore the club to the top both domestically and in the Champions League.
However, they have had little encouragement from United, who have publicly maintained that Pogba is not for sale and is part of Solskjaer’s plans for next season.
AS says it was Real who urged Pogba to start the ball rolling by declaring he wanted a transfer.
During a promotional event in Japan, Pogba said: “It could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.
“I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else. I have been in Manchester for three years and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else.”