Paul Pogba to Manchester United: Jose Mourinho wants signing to be completed before Community Shield
Jose Mourinho wants Manchester United to complete a deal for Paul Pogba ahead of next month’s Community Shield encounter with Leicester City, despite Juventus preparing to hold out for a world record €100m fee for the France midfielder.
Mourinho, who began pre-season preparations with his United squad at the Aon Training Complex on Thursday, has already secured the signings of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitarayan since succeeding Louis van Gaal as manager six weeks ago.
The Portuguese has identified Pogba as his key summer acquisition, however, and United are confident that a deal can be struck with the Italian champions for the 23-year-old.
Pogba, who played for France in Thursday’s Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany in Marseille, is understood to favour a move to Spain this summer if he is to leave Juventus.
But with Barcelona out of the running to sign the player, and Real Madrid unprepared to offer more than £60m for the former Le Havre youngster, United believe they are in pole position to re-sign the Frenchman – four years after allowing him to run down his contract at Old Trafford and leave for Turin.
Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, has held lengthy discussions with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, this summer when negotiating the deals for his other clients Ibrahimovic and Mkhitarayan.
And United have made it clear to Raiola and Juventus that they will lodge a formal bid for Pogba if they are given encouragement from either party that a deal can be done.
With Mourinho insisting earlier this week that United captain Wayne Rooney will be deployed as an attacking player this season, dismissing suggestions that he will operate as a midfielder, Pogba is regarded as the long-term solution to the team’s search for a commanding player in the centre of the pitch.
Mourinho has extended Michael Carrick’s contract for a further 12 months to ensure United possess the necessary experience in midfield, but at 23, Pogba is viewed as the man who could become the club’s most important midfielder for the next five years and inject youthful energy into that key area of the team.
Mourinho: I am where I want to be
With Manchester City ruling themselves out of a move for Pogba and Chelsea unlikely to reignite their interest of last summer, when Mourinho made a late move to tempt him to Stamford Bridge, United have a clear run domestically to sign him.
Mourinho has made it clear, however, that he will not allow a transfer saga to become a distraction in the final weeks of the transfer window following the start of the season on August 13.
But with four weeks to go until United face champions Leicester on August 7, Mourinho is confident that a deal can be agreed to take Pogba back to Old Trafford.