Manchester United's teenage French midfielder Paul Pogba, regarded as the club's finest young prospect, is likely to leave Old Trafford for Juventus, his agent said yesterday.
Sir Alex Ferguson had hoped that his public talk of Pogba as "an outstanding footballer", who would become "a first-team player at Manchester United – without question", might have helped persuade the 19-year-old to sign a new deal and ignore the overtures of Juventus. But the player's agent Mino Raiola, with whom Ferguson says United had agreed terms, disclosed that "as things stand now it is more likely that he goes away from Manchester". Raiola would not discuss the reasons but said that without the presence of Ferguson, the player would have left the club already.
Raiola, who is currently in Brazil, will have concluded his business there on Friday, when he will attend to the question of Pogba. The loss of the star of the 2011 FA Youth Cup-winning team would be a loss, following on from United's decision that there was nothing more they could do to nurture the prodigious talent of Ravel Morrison who left for West Ham United in the winter.
With Milan, Arsenal and Manchester City also being made aware of Pogba's failure to commit himself to United, Ferguson had enlisted the help of senior players Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra in an effort to persuade him to extend his stay. Those attempts appear to have failed and United are only set to receive a small amount of compensation, approximately £300,000, from Juventus this summer. Pogba will earn around £20,000 a week with Juventus.