Sunday 22 July 2018

Manchester United to announce Paul Pogba move in the 'next 48 hours' - report

Paul Pogba is a wanted man this summer
Paul Pogba is a wanted man this summer

Jack de Menezes

Paul Pogba’s future appears to have taken a step towards being concluded after various reports claimed that the Juventus midfielder will join Manchester United in the coming days, with the Premier League side finally coughing up the £100m asking fee.

United’s public pursuit of Pogba has dominated the summer transfer window, with manager Jose Mourinho determined to add Pogba as his fourth and final “pivotal” signing since arriving at Old Trafford.

After landing Eric Bailly, Zlatan Iabrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pogba’s potential £100m addition would see United’s lavish spending of late continue, with United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward sanctioning over £250m worth of spending under Louis van Gaal.

The Guardian reports on Thursday that United have finally met Juventus’ asking price and are hopeful of announcing his transfer within the next 48 hours, with the France international due back from his extended holiday within the next week following his exploits at Euro 2016.

However, The Sun suggest that United may be forced to pay even more than the nine-figure sum mentioned in The Guardian as they claim that a £112m deal is in place, according to a Juventus source.

The extra money involved in the deal is believed to be for Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, who will pocket up to £20m as his percentage of the deal.

Real Madrid had been linked with launching their own move for Pogba after Zinedine Zidane admitted “anything can happen” between now and the 31 August transfer deadline, but The Telegraph claims that the Champions League winners have already switched targets and will instead focus their attentions on Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

The Championship side are holding out for more than £25m for the France midfielder, who has made no secret of his desire to play in the Champions League, and a summer departure appears certain following the Magpies’ relegation from the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Manchester City have opened formal talks with Everton over a £50m move for England defender John Stones. Pep Guardiola identified Stones as one of his key transfer targets before arriving at City, and the club have pressed on with their interest in the centre-back following his return from the disappointing Euro 2016 campaign England endured.

Stones did want to leave Goodison Park last summer for Chelsea, but Everton stood firm and rejected a number of bids from the Blues, the most of which totalled £40m. He went on to struggle last season as Everton’s poor form in the Premier League led to Roberto Martinez being sacked and Ronald Koeman taking over, but the Dutchman’s arrival doesn’t appear to have persuaded the 22-year-old to stay.

The Daily Mail claims that talks are already underway between the two clubs, and an agreement could be reached before the end of the week as City look to press on with their transfer business.

Arsenal have been given a boost in their hunt for a defender after reports in Spain suggested that Valencia are willing to sell German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi for around £20m, with the Gunners looking to ease their early injury crisis.

The news that Per Mertsesacker will miss the rest of the year has left Arsenal desperately short at the back, with Laurent Koscielny still on holiday and Gabriel Paulista remaining in the United Kingdom after suffering a bout of tonsillitis. It means that Arsene Wenger has just Calum Chambers and new signing Rob Holding as recognised centre-backs, with Francis Coquelin training on Wednesday as a makeshift defender with Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal also able to deputise if needed.

Arsenal have been active in the transfer market for both midfielders and striker this summer, having signed Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach and targeting the likes of Jamie Vardy, Gonzalo Higuain and Alexandre Lacazette without success.

However, Spanish newspaper Cadena Cope report that Valencia are willing to sell Germany international Mustafi for £20.9m and will target Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala as his replacement, should City complete their signing of Stones.

Finally, Sky Italia claim that Chelsea have made a £38m offer for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, although whether the Italian side will sell remains unknown. The Blues have been linked with the Senegal defender throughout the summer, but Napoli are in no rush to sell any of their players after receiving upwards of £75m for selling Higuain to Juventus this week.

Independent News Service

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