Saturday 22 October 2016

Manchester United close to announcing as world record £100m Paul Pogba transfer fee finally agreed

James Ducker

Published 04/08/2016 | 07:40

Paul Pogba will undergo a medical with Manchester United
Paul Pogba will undergo a medical with Manchester United

Manchester United are moving closer to announcing an agreement with Juventus to sign Paul Pogba in a world-record deal as Wayne Rooney eyes a new contract with the club.

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United are thought to have finally agreed a fee with the Italian club for the France midfielder that comfortably eclipses the world record £85.3 million that Real Madrid paid Tottenham Hotspur for Gareth Bale in 2013.

Jose Mourinho, who took charge of his first game as United manager at Old Trafford on Wednesday night in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial against Everton, expressed hope that he would have his fourth and possibly final signing of the summer formally in place before United’s opening game of the new Premier League season away to Bournemouth a week on Sunday.

However, United are expected publicly to announce they have reached an agreement with Juventus before Pogba undergoes a medical, signs a contract and the formalities of the protracted deal are concluded. There is some optimism that could happen before the Community Shield against Leicester City on Sunday, although given the drawn-out nature of the transfer saga, sources at Old Trafford have been reluctant to make predictions about a specific time frame.

It is thought Juventus would receive a small additional payment on top of a huge upfront fee in the event Pogba signed a contract renewal at United further down the line, while the size of the deal will be swelled significantly – possibly up to or past the £100 million mark – by a huge payment to the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, a bill that is expected to be divided equally between the clubs.

“We are going to sign one more player, that’s for sure,” Mourinho said on Wednesday night. “I don’t want to speak about Paul because he’s a Juventus player and I don’t like other managers speaking about my players. I don’t speak about their players but the reality is we are going to sign one more player.

“The market closes as you know on Aug 31 so we have plenty of time to do that but obviously I would like to do it before the Premier League starts.”

Rooney was the name in the spotlight on Wednesday night as he marked 12 years at Old Trafford with a testimonial charity match against his former club, Everton, which ended in a drab 0-0 draw, and the player seems determined to see out his career at United.

The England captain, who is 31 in October, still has three years to run on the £300,000 a week deal he signed in February 2014. But Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, raised the prospect on Wednesday of his client signing another deal with United down the line, even if that seems improbable at this stage.

“Wayne has gone public in stating that he intends to see out his current contract,” Stretford told Talksport. “Should Man United make it clear they want him to stay beyond [2019], I think we’ll be sitting down very quickly and ensuring that will happen.”

Rooney addressed the 58,597 strong crowd on the pitch at the final whistle to thank them for their support and offered some insight into Mourinho’s management style.

“He wants to win but he’s not a real big shouter,” Rooney said. “He expects a lot from his players and just from him talking he has got that aura about him where you know exactly the message he’s getting across to you. He’s not someone who is going to come in – at the moment he hasn’t anyway – and start throwing things. But you never know when the season starts.”

Sam Allardyce, the new England manager, was at Old Trafford to run the rule over Rooney and other players before he names his first squad later this month ahead of the opening World Cup qualifying match against Slovakia on Sept 4.

Allardyce was flanked on either side in the directors’ box by David Moyes, the former United manager who has succeeded him at Sunderland, and Alex Ferguson.

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