Rio Ferdinand identifies £135m Spaniard as potential Paul Pogba replacement

Rio Ferdinand has insisted that he does not want Manchester United to sell star midfielder Paul Pogba, but has identified a possible replacement for the Frenchman if he was to leave.

Pogba faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford and has been linked to the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus in recent months.

The 27-year-old’s contract runs out next summer and there is no indication that he is willing to commit his long-term future to the club.

This season has been somewhat of a non-event for Pogba who has not featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side since Boxing Day. The World Cup winner has been recovering from a serious ankle injury he required an operation on, and appeared to be close to a return to first-team training at Carrington before the COVID-19 postponement.

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There have been doubts over whether Pogba could fit into the same side as new signing Bruno Fernandes, who also shares his flair and attacking intent from midfield.

And United great Ferdinand thinks Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez could be the man to offset the loss of United’s record signing, albeit not as a direct replacement.

“I don’t want Pogba to go but if he does go I’d take Saul Niguez all day long,” he said on Instagram live, as quoted by the Metro.

“Not like-for-like but still a top player. What a player. I’ve been harping on about Saul Niguez for a few years now.

“I think he’s a major player. Composed, calm, great left foot, lovely conductor, he can score goals, tactically he’s very aware. You can see Simeone, he gets his teams really well set up and he’s in the middle orchestrating and dictating things.”

Niguez is a world class player who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for a number of years. Many fans would have caught a glimpse of the 25-year-old’s quality when Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League earlier this month.

As Ferdinand notes, the Spanish international has everything to his game and we feel he would complement Fernandes brilliantly in a deeper role in Solskjaer’s midfield pivot.

And according to the Daily Star, there is increasing confidence at United that the club can pull off a record £135m deal for Niguez.

But we take these reports with pinch of salt given the uncertainty around the transfer window and no other indication of concrete interest at Old Trafford.

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