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Manchester United: Fabian Ruiz was considered as a potential Paul Pogba replacement

Manchester United: Fabian Ruiz was considered as a potential Paul Pogba replacement

It was the story that dominated transfer speculation all summer long, Paul Pogba’s proposed move to Real Madrid never came to fruition despite months of rumours linking the French midfielder to the Bernabeu. 

While Los Blancos made their desire to capture the 26-year-old’s signature a priority according to notable journalist Julien Laurens back in August, United remained firm on their stance and refused to let him leave the club.

That is not to say that the Red Devils wouldn’t have entertained the idea of their main centre-midfielder departing, though.

Reports coming out of Italy now suggest that United were eyeing up Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz in the case of Pogba leaving, according to Calciomercato.it (via Sport Witness).

Calcio’s report states that the Premier League club ‘considered’ Ruiz as a ‘one of the best alternatives’ if Pogba had have left Old Trafford.

However, after no suitable bid was made for Pogba from Real, United kept hold of their man, meaning their pursuit of the Spain U-21 international never came to light.

Ruiz has made four appearances for Napoli this season, with his latest coming on Tuesday night as the Italians beat Liverpool 2-0. Ironically, it is now Liverpool themselves who are being linked with the 23-year-old, as reported by the Sun.

United may have managed to retain Pogba this summer, but it is highly likely that next year they’ll face another battle to keep him at the club, with Madrid once again expected to try and prize him away from Old Trafford with a fresh transfer budget to play with.

Should that happen, it would perhaps be unsurprising to see the Red Devils reignite interest in Ruiz, and, with comparisons being drawn between him and his fellow countryman, former Barcelona midfielder Xavi, United fans would have every reason to be excited.

Indeed, Ruiz is averaging a hugely impressive 93.2% (per WhoScored) pass completion rate in Serie A this season, far above anyone in the United squad aside from Axel Tuanzebe, who has played just one game. That would suggest he could help the Red Devils control the midfield better, a problem when you look at how often Pogba is dispossessed (2.8 times a game on average) and how that has led to conceding goals such as the one against Crystal Palace.

United fans, who would you want to see your club sign if Pogba leaves next summer? Let us know below!

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