Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney seems excited at the prospect of playing in the same team as Paul Pogba and believes the France midfielder has unfinished business at the Old Trafford club. For weeks now, more than I care to remember actually, the rather protracted transfer which may see Pogba return to the club he left four years ago has been rumbling on in the background. The deal has ‘reportedly’ been done for some time, with the player still on holiday at this moment in time. The who saga has become unbearable, especially with all of the so-called experts giving details on the transfer, details which are taken from more reliable sources, rewritten with a slight difference, playing it off as their own information. You also see so many adding things and making the transfer as protracted as possible. Thing is, when it is done, it will be announced, patience does not seem to be a virtue with many today!
On Monday Sky Sports News HQ reported that they understand a world record transfer in the region of £100 million was nearing completion and was expected to be finalised before the start of the Premier League season. The 23-year-old Frenchman left the club on the expiry of his contract in 2012, offered a new one, but clearly rejected it, meaning that a fee would be set by a third-party due to the player’s age at the time. £800,000 was payable by Juventus in the form of compensation – all because he did not establish himself as a first-team regular under the spell of Sir Alex Ferguson, with Paul Scholes returning from retirement and players like Rafael da Silva playing in midfield over Pogba – which to be fair would have annoyed me too, and it did at the time. Since signing for Juventus, Pogba established himself as a first-team player, winning the Serie A title in each of the last four seasons at the Turin club.
Rooney seems to be convinced that Pogba will be determined to show what he can achieve at the Theatre of Dreams during a second spell at the club and that it would be a statement of intent from new manager Jose Mourinho, who has also signed Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan already this season. Rooney, who will play in front of the Old Trafford crowd on Wednesday evening for his testimonial match against Everton spoke to the Daily Mail, saying:
“I hope he is going to want to return to United and prove he’s a top-class player. If he is excited to play for us, we’ll be excited to have him back. I’m sure he’ll feel there is unfinished business, and it would be a very big statement by the club if they can make it happen.”
Rooney, joking about the rather unpleasant moments of Pogba’s first stint at the club, talking about training against him, said:
“The bruises. He was one of those players who, when you trained against him, somehow he would just hurt you. A knee in your side, bump into you, I don’t think he meant to do it, but it just happened. You didn’t even need to get into a tackle. Just go next to him and you’d find an elbow or some other sharp bit. So, if he comes, I’m looking forward to that again! But he had great ability, some of the things he could do, and he’s gone up a level since he left us.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s second signing of the summer, made an impact on his debut against Galatasaray in Sweden on Saturday, scoring inside four minutes with a scissor-kick goal, is a player Rooney is excited about ahead of the coming season. Given his thumbs up on the signing Rooney is not developing an understanding on the pitch with the confident Swede. Rooney said:
“He’s one of the best strikers, and a big personality. You can see he wants to be a really important player for us. After training, he is already talking about how we can get the best out of each other, you can see he’s got this great work ethic. I think the players feel this is more like the old Manchester United. It’s not just the new signings, we’ve got Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford from last season who made such an impact. We’re in a very good spot now, we think we can challenge for the Premier League, and we want to put a marker down, in the Community Shield with Leicester. I know it’s a one-off game, but we want to show we can win a trophy early on – we feel that’s an important event for us.”
Manchester United are going to be gunning for something this season. For three years now they have been a team which has underperformed, been relatively unsuccessful, except against Liverpool in the Premier League and now could be the time for everything to fall into place. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United were feared. That eroded away under the ill-fated term of David Moyes and just did not return under during the two-year spell of Louis van Gaal. Under Mourinho, rival supporters seem to be talking about United again, saying how much a joke the club are for bringing the likes of Ibrahimovic to the Premier League, which suggests that it is something they may actually dread this coming season. It has been twelve years since Arsenal, a club which many supporters have been poking fun at United, have won the Premier League. They maintain that they are a UEFA Champions League club and that they are better than United. I suppose you have to be “in it to win it”, but not winning it will show just another abject failure of the club’s fans who are currently happily mocking, and not winning!