Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho held a press conference ahead of Friday’s clash with Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai, the first match of the Chinese leg of this summer’s pre-season tour. United have already beaten Wigan Athletic 2-0 at the DW Stadium on Saturday. Mourinho was asked about a hot topic – Paul Pogba. It was reported on Wednesday evening that United and Juventus had agreed a €120 million fee for the French midfielder’s return to the Old Trafford club. Obviously, this has not yet been confirmed and there were also reports that Real Madrid had involved themselves in the deal at a late stage, which was then suggested to be false. Sky Sports in Italy have today reported that Juventus and Manchester United are continuing their deal for Pogba, also stating that Real Madrid tried to enter negotiations on Wednesday evening, which is something that has already been suggested as false. La Stampa also suggests that a deal for Pogba to return to Old Trafford is not too far away, also stating that he will not return to Italy on the 7th August like has been agreed.
L’Équipe in France are also maintaining that their early report on Wednesday evening was still correct and that Pogba will become a Manchester United player for the second time in his career. It seems that there are too many reports of this being the case, there is no smoke without fire. The fee may be massive, but surely it is better for the money to be spent, rather than it being available to the clubs owners to do as they please with? Manchester United earned around £510 million over the last financial year, which would see Pogba’s fee being around 20% of the club’s turnover, which shows that the club can afford the final fee to sign the French midfielder. There are many opposition supporters who are mocking the fee, a Manchester City fan one of them – their club have spent £1 billion in their quest to glory, which has seen them hit mediocrity more often than not – case closed. A City fan moaning about high transfer fees is a bit ironic in my opinion. During Mourinho’s press conference, the Portuguese coach was asked about Pogba, probably in expectation of the manager confirming that the deal was near to completion, but instead, they got a Sir Alex Ferguson-esque, which said:
“I don’t confirm and I don’t deny. I cannot tell. First of all, because I don’t think it’s correct to speak about players from other clubs. He’s a Juventus player, not a Manchester United player.
“The only thing I can say is that my board, my directors, did a fantastic job to do 75 per cent of the job I asked them to do.
“I asked them for four profiles of players, I gave them a few options and they did for me 75 per cent of the job and we just have 25 per cent to do before August 31.
“So we are in a great position to do what I consider will be a great market for us.
“So we are calm, and I am really confident Mr. Woodward will get the profile of player we need to get a good balance.”
It is clear that Pogba is a target for United this summer, that has been speculated about time and time again, and is now getting to be boring like all transfer saga’s become eventually. There is a lot to suggest something is in the mix with United as Ed Woodward did not travel to China with the squad on Tuesday afternoon, opting to remain in Manchester. It might well be the case that he does travel to China before United’s match against Borussia Dortmund on Friday, but then again he might remain in Manchester, should a deal be close to securing Pogba, with reports suggesting that is the case. Pogba would be a great signing for Mourinho’s United, a player who could complete the midfield, but one who could also end United careers of midfielders currently at the club. Having a big squad will be a must this season, as a smaller squad did not work last season, but having the likes of Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger – not to mention Pogba competing for a likely two midfield places in the team, is going to leave one or two at risk of not playing at all, or even being sold by the manager. Currently, Bastian Schweinsteiger is linked with other clubs, which could see him being forced out of the club.
Earlier on Thursday morning, Paul Pogba’s barber posted an image on Instagram of him cutting the French midfielders hair, with the caption; “Had to change up Pogba’s hair colour for his new team. #manchesterunited #lyfebrand.” That image was deleted and posted again without the caption, as can be seen by viewing the tweet below.
— Busby Bulletin (@BusbyBulletin) July 21, 2016
Some are suggesting that the deal which could see Paul Pogba return to Manchester United could be completed over the weekend, but the Frenchman is still in Miami with friend Romelu Lukaku, a player himself subjected to speculation about his Everton future, with Chelsea set to tempt the Toffees with an offer. The Liverpool Echo has reported that Lukaku is due to return to England later this week, which would mean in the next three days, or it will be into the next week! That could mean that Pogba, who flew to Miami with him, could return to England too, maybe to complete his deal, should it cross the line. It would seem that United may have tried to hurry Juventus into letting them complete the deal by suggesting that they have other targets in mind, should the move for Pogba be heavily delayed by the selling club. David McDonnell of The Mirror reported this earlier this morning, using the quotes from Mourinho to strengthen his article. Only time will tell if Pogba will return to Manchester United, but at this moment in time, it is looking likely. However, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has tweeted the following, which will make many suggest a deal is not complete, or even close to it. He has said this before with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others.
There is no deal done regarding Paul Pogba, lots of bla bla bla.
— Mino Raiola (@MinoRaiola) July 21, 2016