PAUL POGBA looks set to leave Manchester United this summer after revealing he is ready for a “new challenge”.
Despite his flaws over recent years, including last season, he did finish the latest campaign as the Red Devils’ top goalscorer and assist maker.
So with his influence on and off the pitch set to be coming to an end, who could Old Trafford chiefs turn to in order to try and replace Pogba this summer?
SunSport weighs up eight of the best options…
Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona, 27)
Coutinho was backed to become the Barca star his £145million price tag justified 18 months ago – but things clearly have not worked out as he would have liked.
He went to win the Champions League but has seen former club Liverpool win it instead as he managed just five goals and two assists so will be desperate to put that right next season.
The Brazilian knows the Premier League – from his time at United’s arch-rivals – but will not come on the cheap after Barcelona spent so much to sign him last year.
Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona, 31)
A slightly different player to most on this list, Rakitic is more of a central midfielder rather than a playmaker No10.
The Croat oozes class and that is why he has been a Barcelona regular for five years, winning ten major titles including four La Ligas and the Champions League.
He pops up with important goals – Champions League final 2015, El Clasico this March – but unlike Pogba he is more of a metronome that enables the luxury stars to strut their flashy stuff.
Isco (Real Madrid, 27)
There is no doubt about it, Isco is a top-drawer playmaker with a tremendous passing and intricate dribbling ability. In many ways he is a more suitable replacement for Juan Mata.
And he would certainly be one of the easiest players on this list to sign after falling out of favour at the Bernabeu – he may even be used as a makeweight in a deal to take Pogba the other way.
But will he be able to strut his stuff so effectively with the physicality of the Premier League?
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham, 27)
Only two players delivered more assists in the Premier League than Eriksen last season – one has already signed for Real Madrid and the other, Ryan Fraser, is being linked with a top-six move.
The Danish international is a quality operator and United know what they are getting with him: a talented, hard-working professional who consistently delivers, especially with a dead ball.
But with Eriksen helping Spurs reach the Champions League final and the brand-new stadium, why would he leave North London to play Europa League football? If he does leave, surely it will be for Spain.
Adrien Rabiot (PSG, 24)
The 2018/19 season was somewhat of a write-off for Rabiot as he was frozen out at Paris Saint-Germain after refusing to sign a contract extension so is available for free come July 1 should United pip Juventus to his signature.
He has also fallen out of the French squad and regardless of who was to blame, there was clearly personal problems between Rabiot and manager Thomas Tuchel which never bodes well, especially with other United players being accused of downing tools.
But behind the controversy, there is a talented footballer, described by Gianluigi Buffon as a “lovely lad”, “world class” and a “fantastic mixture with the strength of Pogba, the courage of Arturo Vidal and potentially the dynamism of Claudio Marchisio”.
Donny van de Beek (Ajax, 22)
Much of the talk when it came to Ajax last season surrounded around Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt – but Van de Beek enjoyed a stellar campaign, too.
With nine league goals and ten assists, plus another three goals and two assists in the Champions League run, he was a key player for the Dutch side with his late runs into the box and neat feet around it.
After one breakthrough season in the Champions League, though, it would be a big step for the Netherlands man to fill the void left behind by Pogba.
Bruno Fernandes (Sporting, 24)
It was a stunning league season for Fernandes last term as he racked up a mightily impressive 20 goals, 13 assists and created 104 chances – topping the pile with the other seven candidates in all three categories.
It is no wonder the midfielder – who also helped Portugal win the Nations League – is being tipped for a £70m move with Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham also interested.
His passing success rate of 75 per cent is the lowest of the bunch but fans will surely excuse that if he can continue to deliver goals and assists on a regular basis.
Youri Tielemans (Monaco, 22)
A month younger than Van de Beek, Tielemans is the youngest of the eight – but the Belgian is vastly experienced after breaking through at Anderlecht as a 16-year-old.
He impressed on loan at Leicester in the second half of last season, notching up three goals and four assists, showing he has the creative ability to emulate Pogba’s exploits.
The worrying problem for United, though, is that Leicester remain in pole position to make his switch to the King Power permanent this summer as Brendan Rodgers building an exciting project – although the Old Trafford club have revived their interest.
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If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants someone who will fill the void left behind by Pogba in terms of goals and assists, splashing the cash for Fernandes seems the suitable option.
Coutinho and Isco run the risk of becoming the next Alexis Sanchez while Christian Eriksen would arguably be the safest option due to his performances for Spurs in recent years.
At 22, Tielemans and Van de Beek are the two youngsters and would surely develop into key players for years to come at Old Trafford.
This post written by Joshua Jones originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.