It is no secret that Juve's two biggest commodities are Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal. Sure, Juventus has plenty of other players that will fetch the club a lot of money, but the two central midfielders have the most value in the whole squad. Vidal has been the subject of much speculation for the last little while, with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich rumored to be interested in the player. Our director sportivo, Beppe Marotta, has been quoted saying the same things over and over again:
"Vidal will only be sold he asks to leave."
More recently, Marotta said the following in case a player requested a move:
"Obviously there are also some timing issues to fulfill such a request."
Curiously, as far as I know, Marotta has said little about the club getting fair remuneration if a player asked to leave. While the Roma camp go out and put a €100 million price tag on Kevin Strootman, Juventus have never been caught saying that Vidal is worth X amount of dollars or euros. It has always been about the player's desire to move, not about the club making a profit.
The Ciro Immobile transfer showed that Marotta meant the statements above. Immobile found a club he wanted to play for and Juventus and Torino were keen on cashing in on the Naples native; a win-win-win if you will. The timing of the operation was right, although if Immobile did more at the World Cup, Juventus would have looked foolish. However, just like with the Vidal case, Marotta didn't offer the player to the highest suitor. Actually, there was no highest suitor because Marotta didn't seem bothered to start a bidding war for the Cappocannoniere of the 2013-14 season.
At this point you may be asking, how does this relate to Pogba?
Pogba is arguably the biggest asset at Juventus. You know that, I know that, Pogba knows that, Raiola knows that, and the management knows that. You know who also knows? Every soccer club on the face of the earth. Of course, the value of this asset decreases as his contract gets closer to its expiry date and that is where the issue lies. If sold this summer, Pogba could have fetched a nice sum, next summer things may be different. If a bidding war starts Juventus can get a lot of money. If however, Pogba is set on joining one club and one club only, our biggest prize can be walking out the door for pennies on the dollar.
With that being said, am I happy Pogba is staying for the season? You bet! But I will be elated the moment he signs that extension. Take home message here is :Juventus wants Pogba to renew.
Pogba is a smart kid, and he knows that at this moment his destiny is in his hands. One more year at Juve can only be helpful, and after that, forcing a transfer or waiting another year and moving for free will allow him all the freedom in the world. Pogba is also ambitious, and I think he sees that he has won everything at Juventus that he can win with the club. Whether that is true or not is a matter for another time.
So from his point of view why should he sign an extension? More money? He knows that in five years he'll be making more than he can count. More playing time? Juventus are not going to bench him even if he doesn't sign an extension. There is really little driving force to sign a contract extension if he has decided that his chances of getting what he really wants, that is trophies and not money, lies elsewhere. Take home message here is: Pogba may not be very interested in signing an extension if it means he is shackled to a club he doesn't want to be part of anymore.
So maybe Beppe's reassurances to Vidal over the last few months have been aimed at Pogba, and not at the Chilean. After all, Vidal has stated time and again that he wants to remain in Turin and his contract until 2017 a few months ago are a testament to this. Juventus are essentially saying to Pogba sign the contract extension, we will pay you as much as we can (over €4 million allegedly) and when you are ready to go, we won't hold you back. We ask that the move is done with reasonable timing but that's it. You are free to go when you want to.
So why not hold out for an astronomical transfer fee once his contract is extended?
Because Mino Raiola is his agent. The moment Pogba requests to leave, Mino will ensure the biggest splash is made on the transfer market. While Marotta has never put a price to any of Juve's players Raiola has not been as coy. Among other things, he has said that Pogba is worth twice as much as Bale. If Juventus get what Totthenham got for Bale, I will learn to live without the Frenchman.
I never thought Pogba would stay at Juve and become a legend with our club. His move from Manchester to Juventus showed that the player is hungry for success and trophies. Pogba will surely move when trophies dry out, or when he is unable to play the big games in Europe year in and year out. I am okay with this, but the club needs a big pay day when young Paul does say his goodbyes. If Marotta needs to reassure the player in any way, shape or form, no matter how weak he looks, I'm all up for it.
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