'They're not big enough to sign a Paul Pogba' - Jose Mourinho taunts Arsenal and Liverpool
Published 10/08/2016 | 08:38
Paul Pogba is eyeing a glory-laden future after opting to return to Manchester United despite interest from Real Madrid - a switch Jose Mourinho used to taunt his rivals.
Months of speculation, negotiations and deliberation bore fruit in the early hours of Tuesday morning as the open secret of the 23-year-old's United return was made official.
Four years on from departing Old Trafford without making a first-team start, Pogba signed a five-year contract with the option of a sixth season after United agreed to pay an eye-watering 105million euros (£89million).
And Mourinho was quick to tell any detractors only a club of United's size could execute such a deal - which may not have happened had Pogba been keen on a move to Spain.
Juventus revealed the deal could increase by a further five million euros (£4.25million) depending on targets being met at a club the midfielder plumped for ahead of Champions League holders Real.
Press Association Sport understands the Spanish giants were pushing to sign Pogba until the death, becoming more focused on snaring the midfielder as a return to Old Trafford edged closer.
However, re-joining the club he left in 2012 proved more alluring - even though United are readying themselves for Europa League action - given Pogba's desire to get to the top individually and collectively.
"I want to win the league for the first time with United, because I hadn't won the league when I left," he told MUTV.
"The Champions League of course. And, personally, one of my dreams is to win the Ballon d'Or.
"That will come with time, hopefully, but first I want to win the Premier League, which I have never done."
The process of signing Pogba began two months ago but has proved very complicated, given the image rights, tax matters and contract specifics stipulated by Mino Raiola, whose own fee also needed to be covered.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has had a good working relationship with the agent for the past three years, although it required several meetings and numerous hours with him and lawyer Rafaela Pimenta to sort Pogba's playing and image right contracts.
It is, in fact, considered among the top three most complicated player deals at the club, although Woodward's experience in the 1990s as a tax advisor is said to have helped deal with such difficulties.
Getting the deal over the line is understood to have delighted those at United as much as their fans, given they have not only accrued a fine talent but shown they can again take on the might of Madrid and Barcelona in the transfer market.
And Mourinho wasted no time in telling the likes of Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp just what the deal meant.
Last Friday United manager Mourinho branded his Arsenal counterpart Wenger and Liverpool boss Klopp "not ethical" after they questioned the fee the Red Devils were reportedly set to splash out on bringing midfielder Pogba back from Juventus.
And following United's announcement in the early hours of Tuesday morning that the Pogba deal was officially done, Mourinho told MUTV: "I know the discussion, I understand that, sometimes in football, things happen and the club breaks the record, but this is only possible at clubs like Man United.
"When I heard some of the comments and heard some of the managers criticising that, I don't think they ever have this problem because, to have this problem, you need to be at one of the top clubs in the world. So at Man United it can happen."