Tuesday 24 April 2018

Jose Mourinho: Manchester United 'the perfect club' for Paul Pogba to thrive

Paul Pogba is edging closer to making a world-record switch to Manchester United
Paul Pogba is edging closer to making a world-record switch to Manchester United

Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United will prove the perfect place for Paul Pogba to become the best player on the planet, with the Juventus midfielder on the verge of returning to Old Trafford for a reported world-record fee.

United confirmed on Sunday afternoon that the France international has been given the green light to undergo a medical as his proposed switch back to the Red Devils edges closer.

A ccording to reports, the deal could be worth 110 million euros (£93.2million), beating the estimated £85million that Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013.

The Premier League club released a short statement saying the 23-year-old " has been granted permission to have a medical in order to finalise his transfer from Juventus to Manchester United" - alongside the hashtag 'POGBACK'.

United added that the medical would take place at their AON training complex and, after beating Leicester 2-1 to win the Community Shield on Sunday, Mourinho said the move could propel the player to greatness.

"United is the perfect club to bring him to the level he wants to be," said Mourinho, who expects Pogba to complete the deal by Tuesday.

"The Premier League is the perfect habitat for that. If you want to be the best player in the world, if you go to Barcelona or Real Madrid you are in trouble because I don't think the other two big guys (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo) will let you.

"Here he is in the most seen, worldwide, championship which is absolutely incredible, with a team which wants to bring Manchester United to the top again. We have everything to give him and we know the reasons why he wants to come to us.

"Money he would get at any big club. He comes because he knows the club, knows the city, many of the players and wants to be an important part of the project. Hopefully everything goes well."

Mourinho said he could not confirm the price-tag, but does not believe it is an issue.

"I don't think Real were upset when they broke the record with Gareth Bale or Cristiano. I don't think it's a reason to be sad - it's a reason to be proud," he said.

"Football is crazy and the market has become crazy. What you think this season is crazy, you realise three years later it's not crazy any more.

"There are players who cost £10millon who are super expensive because they're players (who are worth) £500,000 or £1million. What is expensive and not expensive in football? I don't know any more. I just know he is a big player."

The Italian champions played West Ham in a friendly on Sunday to mark the opening of the London Stadium.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri seemed resigned to losing Pogba, having previously claimed the player was due back at training on Monday.

After his side's 3-2 win over the Hammers, Allegri said: "I spoke about Pogba the day before. We have just finished a match and I don't know much more.

"We will see tomorrow (Monday) if he is a still Juventus player."

Pogba was giving little away when he wrote on Twitter: "When too many people talk nobody understands...talk very soon."

The Frenchman joined Juventus from United in 2012 for a cut-price £800,000, and in four seasons in Turin has won four league titles.

He is set to become Mourinho's fourth signing at Old Trafford following the captures of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Pogba could prove good value for money, even if he does not have the reputation of being a prolific scorer.

Speaking on BT Sport 2 ahead of the Community Shield, he said: "First of all I thought if he's not getting 40 goals a season, like a (Luis) Suarez, Bale, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi, etc, then he can't be worth that.

"But if he becomes as influential as a (Paul) Scholes, a (Frank) Lampard, a (Steven) Gerrard, a (Patrick) Vieira or a (Roy) Keane, then you say it's money well spent.

"You've got to speculate, sometimes.

"(If) he's the best around in terms of potential, in terms of the age, the fit for the club, the personality and the character, go for it."

United, 2-1 winners in the Community Shield against Leicester thanks to Ibrahimovic's late winner, open their Premier League campaign at Bournemouth next Sunday.

Press Association

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