Friday Kickoff: PSG and Real Madrid battle for Pogba; Wilshere “very down” from injury; and more

PaulPogbaJuventus4 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

French midfielder Paul Pogba could be the most sought after transfer target of the summer.

Both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have made the 20-year-old Juventus man their No. 1 target this summer, and according to a report in Gazzetta Dello Sport, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has already met in person with Juventus president Andrea Agnelli. PSG are reportedly willing to spend upwards of €70 million ($97.3 million) to sign Pogba.

Spanish publication Marca report that Real Madrid have also contacted Juventus inquiring about Pogba.

Pogba, last year’s FIFA Under-20 Golden Ball winner, has kept a regular place in the Juventus side this season after breaking through in 2012/2013. Pogba has played 34 times for Juve in all competitions this season, scoring eight goals.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:

WENGER SAYS WILSHERE IS “VERY DOWN” AFTER SUFFERING INJURY

What originally seemed like an incidental injury has turned into a serious problem for Arsenal.

The Gunners are set to be without midfielder Jack Wilshere for at least eight weeks after Wilshere suffered a hairline fracture on his foot, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that the injury has left Wilshere down in the dumps.

“You can only be very down, especially in the first days,” Wenger told reporters at a press conference about Wilshere. “He is in a boot and has gone away for a few days to get away from things and think about something else.”

Wenger also admitted the injury was an accident, after Denmark international Daniel Agger clattered into the 22-year-old Wilshere. Arsenal will receive insurance payments to cover Wilshere’s wages while he is away, but it now leaves the club without three midfielders. Aaron Ramsey and Kim Kallstrom continue to be sidelined.

QUICK KICKS

Real Madrid attacker Jese Rodriguez has a €50 million release clause, making him unlikely to leave the Santiago Bernabeu. (REPORT)

Shinji Kagawa could leave Manchester United this summer, with Inter Milan being linked with the Japanese midfielder. (REPORT)

Ligue 1 club FC Nantes will serve a one-year transfer ban on incoming players, set by FIFA, after losing an appeal in a Swiss court. (REPORT)

Micah Richards is set to leave Manchester City after refusing to sign a new contract. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Pogba moving this summer? Is he worth €70 million? Do you see Arsenal slipping in the EPL standings due to the injury?

Share your thoughts below.

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17 Responses to Friday Kickoff: PSG and Real Madrid battle for Pogba; Wilshere “very down” from injury; and more

  1. Bean says:

    Wilshire spends more time injured than he does playing. I’m not sure what the fascination with Wilshire is. He has not been impressive even part of the time.

    He went in too hard on that 50/50 challenge with Agger, and it looked like he may have injured his foot while kicking Agger. It appeared that both players clattered into each other.

    • biff says:

      One of the original headlines I saw said Agger delivered a “crunching tackle” and I was expecting the worst. But after seeing video of it, was not as bad as the headline indicated. But I will say that Wilshire, it seems to me, is a target for unfair crunching tackles.

      • Chuck says:

        He isn’t a target, it is all about the way he plays. He goes in hard for 50/50 balls and when you do that every game your going to get injured. Couple that with the fact he is small and that’s is why he is always on the losing end. Similar to stu Holden, love the way he plays but he weighs 150 pounds.

      • GW says:

        “target for unfair crunching tackles.”

        Care to define what you mean by unfair? If it is not foul then it is fair.

  2. biff says:

    Would make no sense for Kagawa to go to Inter when Borussia Dortmund would welcome him back home with open arms. Got my fingers crossed this is what will happen.

    • Josh D says:

      As a United fan, I was very excited for Kagawa’s arrival. Unfortunately, Moyes is a bozo and chooses to keep buying players who prefer to play in the “hole.” We now have Rooney, Kagawa, Mata, and Fellaini, who was best utilized there for Everton.

      I was against Moyes’ arrival, and I’m against him now. He just doesn’t understand player management and transfers at this level.

      • biff says:

        Wow, to hear you say that. I knew you were a Man U fan and until today had never heard you come down Moyes. Yeah, he is in over his head at Man U and you gotta kinda sorta wonder if the previous boss is mabye enjoying just an eeensie weensie bit that his reputation is being enhanced each day that Moyes flounders at Man U. I lost a lotta respect for Moyes when he was still at Everton and before the Derby game with Liverpool was spouting off on what a diver Luis Suarez is and then Everton captain Phill Neville gets a yellow for diving. Priceless.

        link to youtube.com

      • biff says:

        And Suarez rubbing it in Moyes’ face. A great moment in soccer history :-)

        link to youtube.com

  3. Joe says:

    Nice article on BBC about Onyewu.

    link to bbc.com

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Gooch was a mainstay of the backline for a while, so I’m glad he may have found a club home where he is respected, wanted, and successful. But it reads like a puff piece after the actual friendly because he in fact looked like he’s not the same since the knee, and like objectively he shouldn’t make the 23.

      • biff says:

        I do not see that as a puff piece, as the writer is not inflating Gooch’s talent or his performances. It’s a human interest story about a man aching to play for the USMNT in the greatest show on earth–WC 2014. And the story was quite well done.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          “False rumours that a serious knee injury he suffered five years ago at AC Milan had wrecked his career hardly helped his cause…”

          “His lack of game-time meant that, at the start of 2014, the 31-year-old’s hopes of a third appearance at a World Cup finals seemed a distant dream.

          Not anymore. Recalled to national duty for Wednesday’s friendly with Ukraine in Cyprus, Onyewu will hope to win a 69th cap and show US coach Jurgen Klinsmann why he should take him to Brazil.”

          It spends a lot of time quoting him and not much time asking around to see what scouts and others think. ESPN occasionally runs scouts’ assessments of US players where they are coolly broken down by + and -. This is a human interest puff piece by comparison and then Gooch’s actual performance confirmed what most of us — scouts not even required — would have said before the whistle. I think the rap on Gooch these days is spot on, sorry.

          • GW says:

            Mr. IV,

            “puff piece
            noun Informal.
            a newspaper article, book, public-relations film, etc., whose purpose is to praise or flatter.”

            Human interest, definitely. Puff piece? BS. The tone is more positive only because this article is compared to the normal “Gooch’s career is dead” article or to the average rip job you or any other SBI Gooch hater would post but it’s hardly flattery.
            Gooch is in fact doing all these things just to get to the World Cup. You can be impressed or you can call him a dim witted.

            As for his performance in Cyprus, it was encouraging. He certainly was far more mobile than he last looked in a USMNT shirt (Gold Cup, 2013) and assuming he did not come up lame the next day, he appears to be sound, a very big deal.
            The CB’s looked bad but that was in great part because Brooks and Gooch were a mismatched pair. Gooch did his usually destroyer thing but Brooks did not back him up like Boca used to or Besler would have.

            He bettered his WC chances and they moved from non-existent to existent. Near dead is better than dead.

  4. Brian Hall says:

    Juve should hold out for Bale / Ronaldo type money for Pogba. He is as athletic and smart, will dominate the mid-field for the next 8 to 10 years for club and country.

    • brian I says:

      Agreed! No exaggeration at all, he is an absolute beast athletically and has world class skills to go along with it…and what is he, only 21, scary!

    • shawn says:

      I remember pogba was 55 rated on UT in fifa 12 lol