Saturday 17 March 2018

Paul Pogba closer to completing Manchester United return

Paul Pogba arrives at Manchester United's training ground
Paul Pogba arrives at Manchester United's training ground

Paul Pogba moved another step closer to rejoining Manchester United on Monday as he arrived at the club's training ground for a medical ahead of his proposed world-record switch from Juventus.

A day on from United announcing the France midfielder had been granted permission to have the medical in order finalise the much-anticipated deal, Pogba entered the Aon Training Complex in Carrington in a red and black Chevrolet at around 12.15pm.

His arrival in the country had been signalled around half an hour earlier by a tweet from Manchester Airport.

Press Association Sport understands a fee of 105million euros (£89million) has been agreed, a figure that beats the estimated £85million that Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013 in what is the current world-record transfer.

It is expected, if all goes well with the medical, that an official announcement that Pogba is once again a United player will follow on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

The 23-year-old left United and joined Juventus in 2012 having made just seven senior appearances in all competitions for the Premier League club, all from the bench.

Since then he has helped Juve win four Serie A titles and the Coppa Italia twice and reach the 2014-15 Champions League final. He was also part of the France side who finished runners-up at Euro 2016.

After Sunday's 2-1 Community Shield victory over Leicester, United boss Jose Mourinho - who has already signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitarayan and Eric Bailly following his appointment to the role in May - said he felt Pogba was coming to the "perfect" place for him to become the best player in the world.

And regarding the announcement that had come earlier that day, Red Devils defender Luke Shaw told MUTV: "After seeing that there was a good mood around the squad.

"It is another player to fit in our strong squad, there'll be people fighting for places now and that's what you need at a top club like Man United to push us all on to win more trophies."

Former United defender Gary Neville, who was with the club when Pogba was first at United, told Sky Sports News on Monday: "I think it's important they sign players of stature and personality.

"And I think now with Zlatan and Pogba, there are players who will stick their shoulders out and have the strength of personality and character which I think United have lacked in the last two or three years.

"You think that (Ryan) Giggs has left, (Paul) Scholes has left, (Nemanja) Vidic, (Rio) Ferdinand, (Patrice) Evra, amongst others, who had huge personalties and were propping the club up in the changing room for many years.

"You need big shoulders and guts to play for Manchester United and I think the idea of Zlatan and of Pogba returning there is big on the personality front."

Ex-Valencia boss Neville added: "I think it is a big fee, but the Premier League was losing players left, right and centre to Spain, all the grade A players.

"We couldn't entice players to come here and we couldn't keep them when we had the best ones. At least now it looks like we are signing a player who would be regarded as a top signing of the summer.

"I think it's important United go back to signing players that actually fit the profile of the club, which is to play with dynamic strength, with power, with pace. I think some of the signings they have made this summer more fit that profile.

"And from my point of view, everything is too much money - not just Paul Pogba.

"United have spent quite a lot of money in the last two or three years without getting anywhere and I think it is important they made a statement in terms of this signing to show what they are.

"You say it's too much money, but for United, when they are pulling in the money they are, it is nothing for them."

A picture later emerged on Twitter of a smiling Pogba posing in a United training kit with three apparent launderette workers.

There was a further twist regarding the potential announcement of the transfer as Pogba appeared in a video alongside rapper Stormzy, who was wearing a United shirt with the Frenchman's name on the back.

The video, which ends with the logo and advertising slogan of Pogba's boot sponsor adidas, was posted on Stormzy's Facebook page before being swiftly deleted.

Press Association

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