Real boss Zinedine Zidane plays it cool on chase for Paul Pogba

Zinedine Zidane has hinted that Real Madrid are still interested in signing the Manchester United target Paul Pogba, insisting “anything can happen”.

Juventus’s Pogba looked set for an Old Trafford return, with Jose Mourinho ready to splash a world-record fee on the France international.

However, reports in Spain suggested his agent Mino Raiola has stalled over a dispute regarding his fee and the European champions are monitoring the situation.

Pogba is holidaying in Miami, while Real are also in the United States ahead of a pre-season tournament.

Speaking ahead of his side’s first outing against Paris St Germain in Columbus, Ohio, Zidane told a press conference: “I do not know if he’ll come. Until August 31, anything can happen. Pogba is a great player and, when you’re with Madrid, you always want the best, but today he is not a Madrid player, he is with Juventus. I cannot say anything else.”

Meanwhile, Besiktas could offer Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli a route out of Anfield after their president expressed a desire to sign the Italy international. Fikret Orman believes the 25-year-old, who did not travel with the Reds for their tour of the US after being deemed surplus to requirements, could be a good fit for the Istanbul-based club.

“Mario Balotelli is the type of footballer that our fans can associate themselves with,” he told Turkish magazine Fanatik. “We can show some effort and create solutions for Balotelli’s infamous troubles. I think he can change with the attention and care he’ll receive in Turkey.

“In short, we want Mario Balotelli and he wants us too.”

One man definitely out the Anfield exit door is full-back Brad Smith. Bournemouth have announced the signing of Smith on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano has agreed a new three-year contract at Barcelona to end speculation about his future. The Argentina international has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp this summer, with strong rumours of a transfer to Juventus, but he has now committed his future to the Catalan club.

He will be joined at Barcelona by Andre Gomes, with the Portuguese midfielder signing from Valencia. He is Barca’s fourth signing of the summer, following fellow midfielder Denis Suarez from Villarreal and France defenders Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne from Lyon and Paris St Germain, respectively.

Bayer Leverkusen’s director of sport Rudi Voller admits his club are interested in signing Aleksandar Dragovic from Dynamo Kiev, but warned they will not pay over the odds.

Villarreal have signed Alexandre Pato from Corinthians for an undisclosed fee. The 26-year-old Brazil international spent the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea, but struggled with fitness issues and made only two first-team appearances at Stamford Bridge.


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