Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has confirmed the rumours suggesting that Jose Mourinho made a failed attempt to sign Pogba last summer, when he was the manager of Manchester United’s Premier League rivals, Chelsea. The man who was at the centre of the world’s most expensive football transfer and no doubt came out of it with an even healthier bank balance also revealed that the midfielder turned down many clubs, including Real Madrid, in order to re-join the club he left four years ago when he was 19.
In an interview reflecting on the transfer business Raiola has been involved in this summer, the Frenchman’s representative touched on why the 23-year-old ultimately joined the Red Devils, but also why he turned down the chance to link up with Mourinho last summer.
“Mourinho already wanted to bring him to Chelsea last summer, but it was not the right time.”
The 48-year-old is a man who so often gets his clients what they want, no matter what obstacles get in his way or what the selling clubs stance is. Reports suggested Raiola went as far as throwing chairs in negotiations with Borussia Dortmund when he was searching to find a deal to bring Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Old Trafford – which of course, he did. Mkhitaryan and Pogba are just two of three clients the Italian has managed to get through the door at United this summer with Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining that list.
Pogba’s deal, however, was probably the most drawn out and difficult deal to get over the line, with offers coming in left, right and centre, Raiola has revealed. One of those offers apparently came from the only club media reports suggested Pogba would sign for over Manchester United, which is, of course, the team who have dominated the transfer market over recent years – Real Madrid.
“Zidane wanted him at Real Madrid, but five or six other clubs were after him too. Manchester United now are stronger thanks to Pogba, but Real Madrid are not.”
The saga was a frustrating one, to say the least, but one many media outlets considered United to be favourites in throughout. The former Juventus man’s agent insisted the only reason it took so long was because he did not speak to the player throughout the 2016 European Championships and the wheels of the deal only started to get into motion once they met on holiday in Miami.
“I never spoke to Pogba about the transfer market when he was taking part in Euro 2016, then he went on vacation because he was very disappointed by the final. So I went to meet him in Miami to get him up to speed.”
Raiola, an agent Sir Alex Ferguson is not too fond of, has also reiterated what the central midfielder has continuously said since re-joining the club, despite rival fans insisting he only returned for the money – the player feels like United is his home.
“He explained to us what he wanted (In Miami). Manchester is his home.”
The France-born midfielder has shown glimpses of what he is going to bring to the side in his first two games at the club, since his return, even though he has had no pre-season. He is a player that thrives on freedom, a man you have got to allow to roam around the midfield – something that United’s Portuguese manager has been allowing and the side will reap the rewards of, as that will lead to him being mightily effective in both attack and defence. It also benefits United off the field, attracting the world’s best players will no doubt attract more of the world’s best over time and it shows Manchester United’s size and financial power, despite not having Champions League football – it also shows the club’s ambition in an attempt to get back to being one of the world’s top football clubs on the pitch and not settling for mediocrity.