David de Gea and Paul Pogba are demanding huge pay raise, fearing they will be penalized by Manchester United’s possible inability to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team left Europe on Tuesday after being outclassed by Barcelona-inspired Lionel Messi at Camp Nou and facing a tough battle to qualify for club competition next season. United are currently in fourth place, Arsenal, by two points and should face Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City successively after losing five of their last seven games. According to the Times, each member of the first United team will see his base salary reduced by 25% if the team fails to secure a place in the Champions League, was the case in 2016 before the appointment of Jose Mourinho.
Given the prospect of being demoted to the Europa League, two of United’s biggest stars are actually demanding tactical wage increases in a climate of uncertainty over their long-term future. De Gea has been stuck in contract negotiations for almost 18 months and little progress has been made, United has chosen to trigger an automatic extension of 12 months earlier this year to guard against the prospect of losing it through a transfer fee.
The Spanish international, whose form has recently declined sharply, culminating in Tuesday’s disastrous error that gave Messi his second goal in the middle of the week, is seeking parity with the club’s best player, Alexis Sanchez, who wins £ 400,000 a week before a lucrative series bonus. Pogba, meanwhile, still has a little over two years to run for his current contract and is considering his future and the opportunity to leave Old Trafford for the second time in his career. Zidane is anxious to team up with his neighbour at Real Madrid, but top officials at the Spanish club are not sure if the former Juventus midfielder is a great value.
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