Rumour Has It: Barcelona target Pogba after Spotify payday

By Sports Desk March 20, 2022

Spotify's new $235million deal with Barcelona has given the Spanish side some extra spending money, and all eyes are on Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

The Red Devils were eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, and currently occupy fifth spot in the Premier League table in what has been a disappointing season.

Pogba recently made headlines after his home was burgled while he played in the second leg of United's tie against Atletico, coming off the bench in the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA CLOSE IN ON POGBA 

According to The Daily Star, Barcelona's recent windfall has the club looking around at options to add to Xavi's side, with Pogba now considered within their price range and near the top of the list.

Pogba, 29, has nine assists and one goal in his 16 Premier League appearances this season, with his contract set to expire this summer.

Meanwhile, TuttoJuve say Manchester United have identified Dutch 19-year-old Ryan Gravenberch as a potential replacement if they can pry him away from Ajax. 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona coach Xavi has said club legend Lionel Messi will "always be welcome" back at Camp Nou. However, Marca also report that Messi does not plan to leave Paris Saint-Germain during his two-year contract.

- According to Fichajes, Newcastle United are interested in signing superstar forward Neymar, who is under contract at PSG through 2025.

- Juventus are to target a move for Manchester City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, The Daily Star reports, if the English giants manage to sign Norwegian striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that Antonio Rudiger is set to join Juventus when his Chelsea contract expires this summer, signing a four-year deal with the iconic Italian club.

- Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta has agreed to a free transfer to Barcelona, with the deal expected to be completed at the end of the season according to Football Insider.

- The agent of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho said he would one day like to return to Serie A, according to The Daily Mirror. The 30-year-old Italian spent three seasons with Hellas Verona, and five seasons with Napoli before heading to the Premier League.

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    Africa's premier international tournament was due to be held in Ivory Coast during the European off-season next year, but the threat of heavy flooding in the country at that time of year means it will again take place midway through the club campaign.  

    Speaking in the Moroccan capital Rabat, where a meeting of the CAF Executive Committee was taking place, Motsepe said: "We cannot take the risk.

    "January is not the ideal time because of the European clubs, but it is the only choice we have."

    In 2017 CAF announced its intention to play the tournament at the end of the European club season.

    However, this year's edition, won by Senegal in February, was twice rescheduled after being slated to start in both June 2021 and June 2022, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and adverse weather conditions in Cameroon.

    The move is unlikely to be popular with several big-name club coaches, with Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp one high-profile critic of the decision to play the most recent tournament at the height of the European season.

    CAF Secretary-General Veron Mosengo-Omba, however, insisted the contrasting weather conditions across the continent meant a permanent switch to a January-February tournament was not on the cards.

    CAF also announced the creation of an African Super League on Sunday, with the first edition of the 24-team tournament, which will run alongside the African Champions League, slated to begin in August 2023. 

  • Rennes coach Genesio would welcome reunion with 'high-level' Barcelona star Umtiti Rennes coach Genesio would welcome reunion with 'high-level' Barcelona star Umtiti

    Rennes coach Bruno Genesio has not played down reports suggesting a move for Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti, adding the star is a "high-level player".

    The Ligue 1 outfit have been linked for a move for the France international, who endured a torrid 2021-22 campaign at Camp Nou rocked by injury.

    A Europa League qualifying finish for Rennes has left Genesio seeking "sports guarantees" in regard to his transfer aims, and the World Cup winner - whom he previously coached at Lyon - would fit the bill.

    "Sam is a player I know perfectly well," he stated. "I trained him as a youth player and then in the Lyon first team. That creates a bond.

    "You all know his history, his qualities [and] the setbacks he had last year. But he is still a high-level player, and we are interested in high-level players," 

    Genesio touched on his desire to reinforce Rennes' squad too, adding that he needs an influx of fresh talent to replicate their 2021-22 feats.

    "I want to have sports guarantees," he stated. "We just had a very good season. To continue, we need a quality group.

    "I needed to have a lot of answers in the backbone of the team that we were going to be able to maintain and what we were able to do in terms of reinforcements."

  • Galtier's switch to PSG 'good for everyone' says Nice president Galtier's switch to PSG 'good for everyone' says Nice president

    Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere harbours no ill-will towards Christophe Galtier, who he hopes the best for at Paris Saint-Germain.

    Galtier left Nice on June 27 and is expected to replace Mauricio Pochettino at PSG.

    The former Lille coach enjoyed a fine start to his single season in the south of France, with Nice flying high in Ligue 1 and embarking on a run to the Coupe de France final, beating PSG en route.

    However, Nice were unable to keep up their push for Champions League qualification and ultimately had to settle for fifth place, while they were defeated 1-0 by Nantes in the Coupe de France final in May. 

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    He told L'Equipe: "I am very happy that Christophe has the opportunity to coach PSG and I will always keep a watchful eye on him.

    "This alignment of the planets is good for everyone."

    Galtier did not reportedly see eye to eye with Nice sporting director Julien Fournier, and Rivere conceded there were issues at the club.

    "There were these tensions that should not have been expressed in the press," he added.

    "It may seem very confusing, but we analysed the situation calmly and I was able to explain my strategy to [INEOS director of sport] Dave [Brailsford].

    "Nice must project itself with an offensive style, from the training centre to the first team. The pleasure we had at one time has been lost over the last three years."

    Lucien Favre, who enjoyed success at Nice between 2016 and 2018, has been appointed as Galtier's successor.

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