Juve eye Matic as Pogba alternative

Manchester United
Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has dismissed speculation he has fallen out with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Nemanja Matic has reportedly been identified by Juventus as a possible alternative if they are unable to broker a return for Paul Pogba to Turin.

The Italian giants have made no secret of the fact they are interested in re-signing Pogba, who starred for them for four seasons, winning four Serie A titles in the process, before selling him back to the Red Devils in 2016 for a then world-record fee of £89m.

Manchester United chiefs are understood to have quoted them a massive £150m this summer when they again asked after Pogba, also scaring away Real Madrid in the process.

Juventus did negotiate a first-refusal option when they sanctioned Pogba’s original sale, whose future continues to be the subject of much debate, with the France World Cup winner suggesting previously he might be open to a move away from Old Trafford.

Reports in Italy, however, state officials at the Old Lady are also monitoring possible developments with his United midfield team-mate Matic, who is believed to be weighing up his own future at the Theatre of Dreams.

The Serbia international is out of contract next year and has fallen behind academy graduate Scott McTominay in boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s overall thinking in midfield.

Matic had to deny he had fallen out with the United boss last week and featured for the first time this season before the international break in the disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Southampton, replacing Juan Mata with 22 minutes remaining at St Mary’s.

United paid £40milion to acquire the 31-year-old from Chelsea in 2017, and his early showings under former boss Jose Mourinho were certainly encouraging.

But a return of just three goals in 84 appearances, coupled with a succession of niggling injury complaints, has left plenty of United supporters backing their manager’s decision to now promote McTominay ahead of him.

Matic has vowed to fight for a starting place but the former Stamford Bridge favourite would surely be receptive if Juventus do come calling in January or next summer.