Monday 28 May 2018

Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could have joined Premier League rivals - Mino Raiola

Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived as part of Mourinho's summer re-build Getty
Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived as part of Mourinho's summer re-build Getty

Mark Critchley

Mino Raiola has revealed that both Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan received offers from other Premier League clubs before joining Manchester United this summer.

The Italian-born Dutch agent brokered Pogba’s world record-breaking £89m transfer to United this summer, and also oversaw Mkhitaryan’s £30m switch to Old Trafford.

Both players, however, could have ended up elsewhere, as Raiola considered offers from some of United’s top-flight rivals.

On the Pogba deal, he told the Daily Mail: “We had two offers from the Premier League and two outside.

“Paul said United was in his heart, Woodward wanted him at United a year ago and Mourinho had wanted him at Chelsea too, so when the two combined we knew it was right.

“For the player, Real Madrid would have been easier, La Liga, Champions League, but he wanted the greater challenge.”

Mkhitaryan, who was linked with Arsenal earlier this year, came closer still to joining another club, according to Raiola.

“Mkhitaryan was more complicated. We had almost agreed with another Premier League club but Dortmund wouldn’t let him go, then United pushed it over the line.”

Raiola praised United’s proactive business in the market, having seen the club also sign another of his clients, the Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Jose Mourinho identified four key positions to strengthen following his appointment as United’s manager in May and signed players in all four roles prior to the start of the season.

“I think Manchester United showed the world this summer that they were not going to stand still, they want to be the best,” he said.

“They sent out a message with the transfers they did that this is the biggest club in the world.

“I always say to my players we go where we are needed. United will always be one of the biggest clubs in the world whether by reputation or balance sheet,” he added.

“Yes, Manchester United had no Champions League and weren’t champions but they needed us the most.”

Independent News Service

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport