By Greg Stobart
Manchester United wonderkid Paul Pogba has offers from Italian giants AC Milan and Inter as a summer departure from Old Trafford grows more likely.
The French midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and is free to discuss personal terms with clubs outside the English leagues with a view to a free transfer in the summer. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claims the club have a unilateral option to extend the 18-year-old’s contract for a further year, but this has been disputed by sources close to Pogba as the youngster explores all of his options.
Goal.com understands the two Milan clubs have made ‘stunning’ contract offers for Pogba, who is believed to be impatient to play first-team football as he looks to fulfill his billing as one of the brightest talents in European football. The France youth international has also been linked with rivals Manchester City and Arsenal.
Inter are believed to be in pole position thanks to the influence of Italian superagent Mino Raiola, who has been acting as an ‘advisor’ to Pogba and has a reputation in his homeland for securing highly lucrative contracts for players. Raiola is understood to have met Inter directors at the club’s training centre, Appiano Gentile, on December 14 to talk about potential signings.
There would be no transfer fee should Pogba move abroad at the end of his contract, but a nominal sum would be due to United for 'training compensation' under Fifa rules. A move within England would require a fee to be set by an independent tribunal.
In demand | Pogba is seen as one of the most promising young players in Europe
United are desperate to convince Pogba that his future is best served at Old Trafford and Ferguson is trying to persuade the player to turn his back on the vast sums being offered in favour of focussing on his career development.
Ferguson has targeted next season as Pogba’s breakthrough campaign and the former Le Havre youngster has made three appearances so far this season, all in the League Cup, while he has been an unused substitute in the club’s last two Premier League matches.
The United boss is a huge fan of Pogba, who joined the club in 2009 when the Red Devils were accused of ‘poaching’ him French side Le Havre. Ferguson made little attempt to hide his contempt for Pogba’s representatives last month as he urged the player to put his career before money.
He said: "He's got an agent who's obviously become a bit difficult but we're negotiating with this agent and we want the boy to stay. But it's down to the individual also.
"Matt Busby summed it up perfectly, that you don't need to chase money at a club like Manchester United, it will eventually find you. If you're good enough, you will earn money and become rich playing for us, there's no doubt about it.
"You hope he gets the right advice. All the young players who remain here always do well. It's one of these situations that they can chase the money early in their career but at the end it's not the same as if they'd stayed here.
"It's the decision the player has to take himself, no matter who he is, about where they think their best future will be. He just needs to look round about him to realise that. But if he wants to go, there is nothing we can do about it."
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