​Manchester United have reportedly strengthened in their resolve to keep Paul Pogba at the club due to various financial and commercial reasons, but will apparently look to Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale as a new media darling should the midfielder depart.

Pogba’s rifts with manager Jose Mourinho have been some of the worst-kept secrets in football so far this season, and as a result, speculation about his potential departure from the club –  less than two years after re-joining from Juventus – has been rife.

However, recent reports in outlets such as the ​Mail suggest that ​United have come to recognise ​Pogba’s monumental commercial value to the club, and believe that the financial hit they would take in letting him go would likely go some way to offsetting any reasonable transfer fee, so are not keen to sell. 

Pogba, a World Cup winner with France in the summer and one of the best known footballers in the world at the moment, is a crucial part of United’s marketing campaigns, as well as a symbol of their sponsorship by adidas, who also sponsor Pogba individually. 

It is thought, then, that while it would be difficult enough to replace the 25-year-old’s on-field quality, harder still would be to replace his branding capabilities, and United reportedly have ​Bale in their sights as one of the only players who could do both.

While bringing with him the creative spark they would miss in Pogba’s absence, Bale is also a huge household name around the world. Perhaps crucially, he is also sponsored by adidas, so could act as the promotional bridge between the club and the kit manufacturer. 

With that said, however, it is unlikely that ​Real would sell Bale for a good deal cheaper than any fee United would be able to bring in for Pogba. Given that Bale is four years older than Pogba, it becomes difficult, then, to see the upside for United in letting the Frenchman go, explaining their reported reluctance to do so.