Man United ready to offer captaincy to Paul Pogba – ESPN

As per a report from ESPN, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to offer the Manchester United captain’s armband to Paul Pogba, in a bid to convince the Frenchman to reject the advances of Real Madrid.

Zidane returns to Real

Zinedine Zidane made his return to the bench at the Bernabeu back in March.

The former Blancos’ midfielder was reinstalled following failed stints on the part of both Julen Lopetegui and Santi Solari, which led to the capital giants relinquishing their title as European champions for the first time in 4 years, and failing to mount any kind of serious La Liga title challenge to Clasico rivals Barcelona.

And, on the back of Zidane’s return, Los Merengues have since been linked with a massive summer spending spree.

Numerous outlets across Europe have run similar stories, suggesting that Real are ready to break the bank on a number of high-profile additions.

Pogba targeted

Chief among the names linked with a Bernabeu switch have been Premier League duo Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba.

Chelsea attacker Hazard is known to be a long-time target of the soon-to-be dethroned Champions League holders, though the rumours of a potential Blancos’ swoop for Manchester United midfield standout Pogba have majorly ramped up since Zidane’s reappointment.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba celebrates scoring during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Real boss is said to have identified Pogba as the ideal addition to his side’s midfield, with Luka Modric set to turn 34 in the summer, and both Toni Kroos and Casemiro having struggled for form this season.

And Zidane did little to play down the rumours linking Los Merengues with a swoop for his fellow countryman during a recent press conference, when he explained:

‘I really like Pogba and you know that.’

‘I know him very well. He’s a different kind of player and he can provide many things because of his skills. He knows how to attack and defend.’

‘However, he’s not my player. He plays for United and we have to respect that. He’s always said that he likes Madrid.’

Pogba’s demands

Pogba himself has also admitted that it would mark a ‘dream for anyone’ to line out in the colours of Madrid, which, when coupled with the abuse that the Frenchman was subjected to following United’s final-day defeat to Cardiff two weeks ago, certainly appear to point towards an imminent parting of ways between club and player.

As per the aforementioned report from ESPN, though, the Red Devils have not yet given up hope of convincing their star midfielder to stay put.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be ready to hand the captain’s armband to Pogba for next season, to assure the 26-year-old of his integral role at Old Trafford:

‘Sources have told ESPN FC that Pogba, who was stripped of captaincy duties by Jose Mourinho, is one of the names in the frame and Solskjaer is hopeful that handing the 26-year-old more responsibility will help end speculation over his future.’

Current United captain Antonio Valencia is set to depart the club upon the expiration of his contract this summer.

Manchester United’s deal for Swansea’s Daniel James is almost done – Sky

Man United ‘working very hard’ on trying to sign Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt – Jan Aage Fjortoft

Gareth Bale odds-on for summer Man United move – Ladbrokes