Juventus ‘Keen’ to Sign Man Utd Star Paul Pogba Following Meeting With Agent Mino Raiola

​Juventus have expressed their interest in re-signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, but they will have to sell several star players to meet the Red Devils’ asking price of around €130m.

Pogba’s future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks, with many believing he could pursue a huge move to Real Madrid if United fail to secure Champions League football for next season.

However, according to ​The Guardian, ​Juventus are ready to enter the race for his signature, following a meeting with the Frenchman’s agent, Mino Raiola.

Club officials met with Raiola primarily to discuss the possibility of signing another of his clients – Flamengo left-back Wesley – and to arrange a contract extension for wonderkid striker Moise Kean, but they are said to have informed the agent that they are keen to bring ​Pogba back for a second spell at the Allianz Stadium.

Pogba first joined the Bianconeri in 2012 on a free transfer from ​United, and blossomed into a bona fide star before securing a lucrative switch back to Old Trafford just four years later.

Signing him would not be so straightforward this time around, with United ready to demand at least €130m for the 26-year-old. Having spent so much of their money to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, Juventus would need to sell a handful of first-team stars to raise the required funds.

Miralem Pjanic and ​Douglas Costa are both named as likely casualties, whilst ​Paulo Dybala, Joao Cancelo and ​Chelsea loanee ​Gonzalo Higuain have all been linked with moves away from the club this summer.

Juventus will remain in contact with Raiola over the next few weeks whilst they explore all their options, in the hope of being able to compete with Real for Pogba’s signature.

Paul Pogba

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently insisted that, whilst he could not guarantee it, he firmly believes ​Pogba will remain with United next season.

This season, the 26-year-old has racked up 16 goals and 11 assists in all competitions, but he has faced serious criticism as United’s hopes of securing a top-four finish have begun to fade in recent weeks,

The Red Devils currently sit sixth in the ​Premier League, three points behind Chelsea in fourth, with the two sides set to square off on Sunday in a game which could decide the fate of both sides. 

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Massimiliano Allegri Says ‘You Shut Up and I’ll Talk’ Following Criticism After Juve Draw With Inter

​Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri launched a stunning defence of his track record after criticism over his perceived defensive style following his side’s 1-1 draw with Inter on Saturday.

After the Nerazzurri opened the scoring through Radja Nainggolan, Cristiano Ronaldo levelled things up for the visitors in the second half, with neither side clinical enough to take their opportunities.

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With ​Juventus also suffering a shock exit in the Champions League quarter-finals to Ajax, Allegri fired back at those who appeared to question his tactical approach in games.

Speaking after the game, the Bianconeri boss said (as quoted by ​Goal): “In Italy, everyone has become a theorist of football and that is a real problem, like you reading your books.


Now you shut up and I’ll talk, you don’t know anything about football. You just sit there behind the desk, you read your books, but you don’t know anything about the practicality of the sport. I’ve won six Scudetti.”

He added: “Against Ajax, we suffered with their counter-attacks, not their style of football, and that made it look as if they had an extraordinary game, whereas they were better in Amsterdam. The same goes for tonight. It’s natural that when you misplace a lot of passes, you run risks.


We had a good second half and it wasn’t easy because ​Inter are fighting for the Champions League and we are a bit short with the players we have out, but we finished the game very well, both physically and technically.”

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Inter 1-1 Juventus: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Cristiano Ronaldo Scores 600th Club Goal

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 600th career club goal cancelled out a stunning opener from Inter’s Radja Nainggolan, to ensure the spoils were shared in the Derby d’Italia at San Siro on Saturday evening.

In an intense opening period, Inter’s early pressure told, as Nainggolan thundered in a ferocious volley from outside the area to give the home side the lead after just seven minutes. 

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With Juventus struggling to assert themselves on the game, both Stefan de Vrij and Mauro Icardi missed great opportunities later in the first-half thanks to a combination of some profligate finishing and backs to the wall defending. 

Their misses proved crucial as the Bianconeri began to turn up the pressure after the break, and equalised mid-way through the second-half thanks to Ronaldo, after the Portuguese star exchanged an exquisite one-two with Miralem Pjanic and fired home.

Both sides created their fair share of opportunities but failed to take advantage, and with things beginning to hot up in the race for the top four next year, Inter’s draw may just prove to haunt them come the end of the season.

Check out our breakdown of the game below. 


Inter

Key Talking Point

Having seen AS Roma close the gap to just three points earlier on Saturday, the pressure was on Luciano Spalletti’s side to respond, and to pick up some kind of positive result against Juventus. And they made the best possible start when Radja Nainggolan rolled back the years to score a thumping volley inside ten minutes. The Belgian’s wonder strike was rich reward for an excellent ​Inter performance in the first-half, but saw their efforts go to waste when Ronaldo equalised for the visitors.


With a visit to ​Napoli still to come in their schedule, the race for the top four and a guaranteed place in the Champions League group stages next season is still very much on. With the draw, the Nerazzurri find themselves just six points clear of city rivals Milan, who have a game in hand, with the battle set to go right down to the wire.  


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (6); D’Ambrosio (6), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (7), Asamoah (6); Vecino (6), Brozovic (7); Politano (7), Nainggolan (8*), Perisic (7); Icardi (6). 

Substitutes: Mario (6), Valero (6), Martinez (N/A)

STAR MAN – A display reminiscent of the time he was in his pomp at Roma, Radja Nainggolan was impressive from start to finish. The 30-year-old delivered an all-action performance for the Nerazzuri, often carrying the ball from deep inside his own half and well into the Juventus final third. The Belgian’s stunning volley after just seven minutes was typical Nainggolan; it had power, venom and sheer audacity. 

​​The deal to take the midfielder to the San Siro saw the highly-rated Nicolo Zaniolo go in the opposite direction, and was widely regarded as a really errant piece of business from Inter based on both their trajectories this season. But if Nainggolan can produce more consistent performances like he did on Saturday, then Inter will certainly have a genuinely world-class operator on their hands.


Juventus

Key Talking Point

Recently crowned champions of ​Serie A for an eight successive season, it was little surprise to see Massimiliano Allegri’s men look well short of the required pace. The Bianconeri have nothing of note to play for this season having already exited the Champions League to Ajax this month, and on Saturday evening against Inter, they struggled to get going. 

However, as is often the case, ​Cristiano Ronaldo (who else?) was on hand to rescue Juventus from a disappointing defeat against their rivals. Allegri’s side looked lethargic and devoid of any real ideas throughout the game but their Portuguese talisman dug them out of a hole once more. With the season winding to a close, it is imperative that Juventus seek to bring in new faces to aid Ronaldo’s quest of adding another Champions League medal to his collection next year. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Szczesny (6); Cancelo (6), Bonucci (6), Chiellini (7), Alex Sandro (5); Cuadrado (6), Can (6), Pjanic (7), Matuidi (6); Bernardeschi (6), Ronaldo (8).

Substitutes: Spinazzola (6), Kean (6), Pereira (N/A)

STAR MAN – It may not have been the greatest of performances from either Juventus or Cristiano Ronaldo, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner once again stepped up when needed, to ensure the Bianconeri avoided defeat to their bitter rivals. In scoring the equaliser, Ronaldo scored his 600th club goal of his career, and it came at a time when Inter were looking dangerous and increasingly likely of scoring a game-defining second. 



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He may not have led the Old Lady to the holy grail of the Champions League this year, but there seems to be no stopping Ronaldo, even at the age of 34. With the Serie A crown already added to his bursting trophy cabinet, the former Real Madrid star will relish the prospect of firing Juventus to European glory next season.


Looking Ahead

Inter will look to maintain their grip on a place in the Champions League next season when they travel to Udinese next Saturday, whilst ​Juventus take on Torino in their penultimate home game of the season a day earlier.

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Juventus Increase Interest in Manchester United Target Raphael Varane as Real Madrid Set Price Tag

​Serie A giants Juventus have reportedly been encouraged by the price tag being placed on Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane. 

Los Galacticos are believed to have reached a £100m valuation for the 26-year-old amid interest from a number of European clubs. 

The Spanish club is not expected to allow the Frenchman to depart willingly but the rumoured valuation suggests there could be room for negotiation on the matter. The princely sum could also out price some of the competition, including United who are very keen on the player. 

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Earlier this year United chief executive Ed Woodward reportedly ​identified Varane as the club’s top summer target. The Red Devils were believed to be preparing a £90m bid for the defender after another disappointing campaign, making them frontrunners for a signature.

According to ​Calciomercato, United face serious competition from ​Juventus who’ve been put on red alert following the recent appraisal. The ​Serie A side are now confident they can stave off interest from United and another unnamed ​Premier League club to seal a move for ​Varane.  

The Frenchman’s stock has skyrocketed after several impressive years that have seen him rise amongst the best centre backs in the world. Varane won three consecutive Champions League trophies with ​Real Madrid between 2015 and 2018 before going on to lift the World Cup with France last summer. He was the only player to win both competitions in 2018.

However, Real Madrid have struggled in ​La Liga and Europe this season, suffering one of the worst campaigns in the history of the club. A major dissection and restructure is expected in summer and the club could be convinced to part with Varane to help fund a makeover. 

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Manager Zinedine Zidane is reportedly hoping to convince Varane to ​sign a contract extension though, putting an end to speculation. The Frenchman still has three years to run on his current contract so there is no immediate risk of him leaving for a cutdown price. 

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A Rundown of 5 Season-Defining Fixtures Across Europe This Weekend

​Title races. Champions League spots. Avoiding the drop. Domestic football is inching ever closer to its conclusion and, with games running out thick and fast, it really is all to play for at both ends of the table.

The Premier League title race took another huge step on Wednesday with Manchester City’s derby victory at Old Trafford, with Pep Guardiola’s men firmly in the driving seat now. But with tricky away fixtures still to play, don’t write off a late Liverpool twist just yet.

The race for Champions League football has also been similarly enthralling, whilst there are really intriguing battles at the top across Europe, including in the Bundesliga, Serie A and Primeira Liga. 


Burnley vs Manchester City

Leroy Sane,David Silva,Bernardo Silva,Sergio Aguero,Raheem Sterling

Wednesday’s clash against derby rivals Manchester United was billed as the game to shape the title race, and whilst ​City’s victory no doubt saw them take a huge step towards retaining their crown, Liverpool fans shouldn’t lose hope just yet. Pep Guardiola’s side travel to Turf Moor to take on a Burnley side who were impressive in securing a backs-to-the-wall 2-2 draw at Chelsea. 

With ​Kevin De Bruyne still missing, and midfield lynchpin ​Fernandinho also seemingly set to be ruled out of action with injury, City will have to make do without two of their most important first-team stars. Burnley are notoriously strong at home, and if they show the same kind of display resilience as they did at Stamford Bridge, then a free-scoring City side will have their work cut out to find a way through. 

The pressure on getting a result is likely to be further exacerbated by ​Liverpool’s virtually guaranteed three points against an already relegated Huddersfield at Anfield on Friday night, so the title race isn’t quite over just yet. Not by any means. ​​


Manchester United vs Chelsea 

Marcus Rashford,Eden Hazard

It’s the top four race that nobody seems to want to win. Last weekend saw Tottenham lose, ​Manchester United lose, Arsenal lose, and Chelsea draw. If ever there was an opportunity to lay a marker down then that was it, but such is the drama of ​Premier League football, that none of the sides took control of their destiny.

But with midweek results once again throwing another spanner in the works, this Sunday’s clash between United and ​Chelsea takes on added significance. Spurs’ last-gap win at home to Brighton seems to point to them sewing up third, whilst Arsenal’s continued tragic away form has handed the initiative to the team that wants it at Old Trafford on Sunday. Win, and they’ll become favourites. Lose, and they’re almost certainly out of it.

Having suffered two consecutive humbling losses to Everton and Manchester City, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side come into the game with their confidence at a low, whilst the Blues blew a great chance themselves when they managed just a draw to Burnley at Stamford Bridge. This Sunday could be huge in the context of the long-term futures of both clubs. 


Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke

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With the ​Bundesliga title race just as close and nerve-racking as the one in England, ​Dortmund entertain rivals Schalke on Saturday looking to keep pace with table-toppers Bayern Munich. The Revierderby comes at a great time for Lucien Favre’s men, with their attack as fearsome and devastating as it has been all season.

The likes of ​Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Jadon Sancho have all been in inspired form in recent weeks and were instrumental in their side’s 4-0 victory over Freiburg last time out. Dortmund’s Ruhr neighbours Schalke however have endured a miserable time of late with just one win in five, and were soundly beaten 5-2 by Julian Nagelsmann’s enterprising Hoffenheim. 

With Bayern away to second-bottom Nurnberg on Sunday, ​​Dortmund have the perfect opportunity to leapfrog their arch-rivals and heap the pressure on before their clash. 


Inter vs Juventus

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One of the marquee matches of the ​Serie A calendar, ​Inter welcome Juventus to San Siro on Saturday, knowing the battle to qualify for the Champions League next season is well and truly on. The top four sides achieve automatic qualification to the group stages of the competition in Italy, whilst fifth and sixth have to settle for Europa League football.

With only five games to go, just six points separate third-placed Inter with Roma lying in sixth, and a defeat at home to recently crowned champions ​Juventus will only invite the surrounding teams to take advantage. Ivan Perisic rescued a draw for the Nerazzurri against Roma last time out, whilst city rivals Milan continue to breathe down their neck. 

With Luciano Spalletti’s side still to face second-placed Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium, a defeat on Saturday could prove catastrophic for their Champions League hopes.  


Braga vs Benfica

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And finally, in another ridiculously close title race, both Benfica and Porto find themselves locked at the top of the table on 75 points apiece. The two Portuguese giants have been in exceptional domestic form in recent weeks too, b​ut found their journeys in the Europa League and Champions League come to an end at the quarter-finals stage last week.

With no European distractions, both sides will relish directing all of their focus on to the league, with this weekend’s fixtures potentially crucial in deciding the destiny of the title. Whilst Porto travel to mid-table Rio Ave on Friday, Benfica have the tougher task of taking fourth-placed Braga away from home on Sunday evening. It’s all set up for a fascinating end to the title race in Portugal.


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