The Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund stars were earmarked as potential targets, but deals for the duo were never close
Former Barcelona adviser Arieda Braida says that the club never had any intention of signing Paul Pogba or Erling Haaland as he detailed his messy exit from the club.
Braida originally joined Barca in 2015 when he was told he would be part of a sporting committee involving president Josep Maria Bartomeu, vice president Javier Bordas, Jordi Mestre and Alberto Soler.
As part of that committee, Braida was expected to be responsible for negotiations with foreign clubs, having been responsible bringing the likes of Ruud Gullit, Kaka, Andriy Shevchenko and Thiago Silva to Milan during his time as sporting director of the Italian side.
However, Braida says that committee never truly got going, claiming those in charge routinely dismissed his suggestions before his eventual firing in August 2019.
Braida refused to accept the terms of his dismissal, which came with two years left on his contract, and the case is set to go to court in December.
In an interview with Marca, Braida says that one negotiation he was involved with was to bring Pogba to the club back when the now-Manchester United midfielder was at Juventus.
Braida says it wasn’t much of a negotiation at all, though, as there was never any intention to actually bring him to Barca.
“It’s not a lie. It is true that Albert Soler and I went to Milan and met with the Juventus board,” he said. “But despite the talks, there was no real intention to sign him.
“In fact, Pogba ended up staying that summer in Turin and did not go to another club. I said he was a great player, I was talking about it with Albert Soler, with whom I consider that he had a good personal relationship, but again, professionally we could not work together because I was not allowed.”
In addition to missing out on Pogba, Braida says Barca also passed on signing Haaland, who was earmarked as a target alongside the likes of Inter’s Nico Barella and Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo, players that went on to become Italian internationals.
“They did not give me the responsibility, they put others in charge of this work,” he said. “I was studying players and I wrote down some names like Haaland from Borussia Dortmund when he was still playing for Rosenborg. But at the club, they told me no, that he didn’t have the Barca profile.
“From Italy, I also suggested other names, such as Barella, who is now at Inter, or Zaniolo, from Roma. But if you do not have the responsibility to execute this because it has been given to others, you cannot do anything. I was separated.”
Braida went on to add that he had no real relationship with Barca president Bartomeu, who is currently under fire amid a vote of no confidence from the club’s members.
“You say that I know him, but in reality I had nothing to do with him,” he said. “At first it is true that we talked a little, but later it was non-existent. This was also new for me because normally in Milan, I did have contact with my superior. I think that talking once a year is not having a great relationship.
“I met him several times in the sports complex and we greeted each other, but I had very little relationship with him. We didn’t talk every day or every week.”