'We have a third signing and are working very hard on the fourth' - Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho admitted Manchester United will announce the signing of Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan shortly but insisted he will not rest easy in the transfer market until the club has secured a fourth and final signing.
United have agreed a £26.3 million fee with Dortmund for the Armenia player, who will become the club’s third capture of the summer after defender Eric Bailly and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Mourinho did not name Mkhitaryan but admitted a deal was all but done and is now training his sights on a fourth transfer target.
That is understood to be Paul Pogba, with United in talks with Juventus about signing the France midfielder, but even if the club are unsuccessful in their pursuit of their former player, who left Old Trafford in 2012, Mourinho said there would be alternative targets to pursue. Real Madrid also want Pogba.
“I think the third player is official or not yet?” Mourinho said, turning to his press officer, who said, ‘No’.
At which point Mourinho asked: “So the third player will be official, when?” to which the press officer replied: “Soon.”
Mourinho added: “I can try to make you understand the profile. We made a nucleus of four priorities, four positions to give a certain balance to the squad, to give a certain push in terms of quality and the qualities I need and want, especially the ones with more vision.
“I am more a manager that likes specialists and not so much the multi-functional players because I am very clear in my approach.
“Multifunctional players are like one or two, when you are in trouble you need someone who can fill but basically I want specialists. We decided four targets.
“From these four, we have three and until we don’t have the fourth, we are still working hard, myself, the structure, Mr [Ed] Woodward [the executive vice chairman], the owners, we are working hard.
“When we have the fourth. I breathe and then the market will be open. We are not going to get the fourth on the 31st of August, we will get the fourth before then.”
Mourinho said it was imperative the players he does retain are happy and that if a player does leave he will have to be replaced, raising the prospect of more transfer business if required. Spain midfielder Juan Mata could depart and Mourinho’s claims that he is not so keen on “multi-functional players” does not augur well for Daley Blind, who was used as a centre-half, left back, left wing back and holding midfielder by Van Gaal.
“There is something important for me that the players I keep are all happy,” he said. “Imagine in the first match I don’t select somebody, he gets disappointed, he has the chance to go to another club. If he leaves, somebody else has to come in. There is a fundamental market and there is a supplementary market. We are doing well. We are getting the players we want and now we have the third.”