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Manchester United make fourth signing of the summer; Paul Pogba

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Paul Pogba in a reported £89 million world record transfer from Juventus. The 23-year-old left the Old Trafford club in the summer of 2012 after he felt he had not been given a chance in the first team with Sir Alex Ferguson bringing Paul Scholes back from retirement and using Rafael da Silva in midfield with the then 19-year-old remaining on the bench. His contract was up for renewal that summer and despite being offered a new contract, he decided to leave the club and head for pastures new – Juventus. The Italian side was willing to give the Frenchman a chance to earn his stripes in the first team after having to pay the Old Trafford club just £800,000 in compensation, which was good value for the type of player then ended up with.

During his first season at the Turin club, Pogba made 37 appearances, scoring five goals also earning two yellow cards and one red. That season he also made his debut with France, making two appearances altogether, earning a yellow card followed by a red in a 1-0 defeat to Spain. That season Juventus won the Serie A – Pogba’s first league title and the Supercoppa Italiana. In his second season, 2013/14, Pogba made 51 appearances for his club, scoring eight goals, again winning Serie A. He also made nine appearances for France, including playing at his first FIFA World Cup, scoring two goals – one against Nigeria in the round of 16. In his third season at Juventus, 2014/15, Pogba made 41 appearances, scoring ten goals – also making two appearances for France, scoring once. Pogba won the Serie A again, adding the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana to his tally of trophies. He also made an appearance in the UEFA Champions League final, losing 3-1 to Barcelona. His final season at Juventus, 2015/16,

During the 2014/15 season, Pogba also made an appearance in the UEFA Champions League final, losing 3-1 to Barcelona. His final season at Juventus, 2015/16, Pogba made 49 appearances, scoring ten goals, winning the Serie A for the fourth time, also adding the Coppa Italia once again. Pogba also made 11 appearances for France – seven of those in the European Championships, scoring once against Iceland in the quarter-final. During his time at the Italian club, Pogba made a total of 178 appearances, scoring 34 goals. The Frenchman won the Serie A four times, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana twice. He was a UEFA Champions League finalist and that was something the Italian side wanted to attempt again this coming season, but clearly the lure of Old Trafford and his unfinished business was something he could not turn down. Manchester United had lured him to the club with UEFA Europa League football, which may not have been a selling point.

Pogba was part of Manchester United’s FA Youth Cup winner’s in 2011, a team which consisted of; Sam Johnstone, Sean McGinty, Tom Thorpe, Michael Keane, Michele Fornasier, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jesse Lingard, Pogba himself, Ravel Morrison, Will Keane, Gyliano van Velzen, John Cofie, Larnell Cole, and Tyler Blackett. Only Johnstone, Lingard, Will Keane and Blackett remain at the club, with the last two likely to leave this summer on loan or permanently. Pogba may see that things have changed at the Old Trafford club post-Sir Alex Ferguson, but despite the last three years, confidence and the winning mentality the club once had are both starting to return with United ready to start their return to the top of the Premier League, whether this season or next. Pogba will have seen the project Jose Mourinho has developed for the club, and with his signing, that must have been something which appealed to him.

This summer, United have had the best transfer window of the last few years signing Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan already – and without the lure of UEFA Champions League football. For three years rival supporters have mocked United as they have only achieved a place in the elite European competition for one season following Ferguson’s retirement, failing to make a place in European competition for one season out of the three. This season, though, United will need to ensure UEFA Champions League qualification, or that is where it hits them in the pockets – adidas will lower their sponsorship money – currently £75 million per season if a place is not obtained in the elite competition for two seasons in a row. Mourinho will be making sure that is not the case though and with the players he has, plus the ones he has brought in – adding to the confidence levels rising and the United of old showing signs of returning, it would seem that this is something that could be easily achieved.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Manchester United made the announcement that Paul Pogba has returned to the Theatre of Dreams, something that many had been waiting for weeks, and it comes when most are tucked up in bed waiting for the news to come out on Tuesday. Speaking about his return to United, Pogba said:

“I am delighted to rejoin United. It has always been a club with a special place in my heart and I am really looking forward to working with José Mourinho. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Juventus and have some fantastic memories of a great club with players that I count as friends. But I feel the time is right to go back to Old Trafford. I always enjoyed playing in front of the fans and can’t wait to make my contribution to the team. This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to in the game.”

Manchester United manager, speaking about his new world record signing, said:

“Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future. He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is. At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years. He is young and will continue to improve; he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”

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