Jose Mourinho lines up world record £100m Pogba bid
Manchester United boss desperate to land French star
Jose Mourinho has made the signing of France midfielder Paul Pogba his top priority, and Manchester United are prepared to shatter the world-record transfer fee to bring the player to Old Trafford.
Mourinho spent a portion of his first day as United manager discussing transfer targets with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and stressed that Pogba was the player he was desperate to land.
That is expected to lead to an official offer being made to Juventus, which could be as much as £100m.
United know they will have to do something special to beat Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Manchester City, in the race to sign the 23-year-old and hope the size of their bid will deter their rivals.
Pogba’s return to Old Trafford would be seen as a coup, albeit a hugely expensive one given they allowed the player to leave rather than meet his wage demands for a new contract four years ago.
There is a growing confidence that Pogba will return to United, although officials are wary of being used in an attempt to drive up the asking price.
United were used during Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos’ contract negotiations at Real, and their interest has also helped Neymar’s representatives agree a new deal at Barcelona.
However, Pogba is set to leave Juventus this summer.
City have the resources to match United’s bid, although new manager Pep Guardiola has not pushed as hard to sign the player.
Barcelona and Real were both ordered to repay millions in illegal state aid by the European Commission yesterday following an investigation into the financial help they have received from the Spanish government, so are unlikely to be able to outbid United.
Another pressing matter for Mourinho is the future of midfielder Juan Mata.
The Spaniard was sold to United by Mourinho in January 2014 and the pair will have a meeting tomorrow to discuss whether the player is going to remain at the club.
Everton are preparing to bid for the 28-year-old if, as expected, he is told he can leave.
United are also closing in on Pachuca striker Hirving Lozano (20), who is set to move once he has played for Mexico in the Rio Olympics.
Meanwhile, Alex Ferguson has backed Mourinho’s decision not to keep Ryan Giggs on as an assistant.
Mourinho is expected to appoint long-term assistant Rui Faria.
“If Jose hadn’t had an assistant, I know he would have taken Ryan,” Ferguson said. “You have to have, in an assistant, someone you’ve trusted all your life. Jose has had his assistant for years and, quite rightly, has stuck by his own man.”