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Friday 30 September 2016

Jose finishes off jigsaw with Pogba

Community Shield Man Utd 1 Leicester 1 French midfielder granted permission to have medical at Old Trafford

Zlatan Ibrahimovic acknowledges the crowd after his goal gave United the win over Leicester City Picture: PA
Zlatan Ibrahimovic acknowledges the crowd after his goal gave United the win over Leicester City Picture: PA

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is on the verge of returning to Manchester United for a reported world-record fee after being granted permission to have a medical.

A Juve spokesperson said yesterday that the France international has been given the green light to undergo fitness checks as his proposed switch back to Old Trafford edges closer, and United also confirmed soon after that the deal was close.

According to reports, the deal could be worth E110million (£93.2million), beating the estimated £85million that Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013.

The Premier League club released a short statement saying the 23-year-old "has been granted permission to have a medical in order to finalise his transfer from Juventus to Manchester United" - alongside the hashtag 'POGBACK'.

United added that the medical would take place at their AON training complex.

The Italian champions are currently in London, where they played West Ham in a friendly yesterdday to mark the opening of the London Stadium.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri seemed resigned to losing Pogba, having previously claimed the player was due back at training on Monday.

After his side's 3-2 win over the Hammers, Allegri said: "I spoke about Pogba the day before. We have just finished a match and I don't know much more.

Player

"We will see tomorrow (Monday) if he is a still Juventus player."

Pogba, meanwhile, was giving little away when he wrote on Twitter: "When too many people talk nobody understands...talk very soon."

United boss Jose Mourinho suggested on Friday that he wanted the deal done by the time his side play their opening Premier League game at Bournemouth on August 14.

Pogba joined Juventus from United in 2012 for a cut-price £800,000, and in four seasons in Turin has won four league titles.

He is set to become Mourinho's fourth signing at Old Trafford following the captures of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Mourinho had said he needed four new players before the start of the season.

Last month, he said: "I asked them for four players, to be more accurate I asked for four profiles of players I need.

"And I gave them a few options and they did for me 75 per cent of the job with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan and (Eric) Bailly.

"We just have 25 per cent to do before the 31st of August, so we are in great conditions to have what I would consider a good market for us."

On the pitch yesterday, there was more good news for United as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's winner ensured that Mourinho's reign got off to a winning start as the FA Cup holders beat champions Leicester City 2-1 in England's Community Shield season curtain-raiser at Wembley.

Ibrahimovic leapt above Leicester captain Wes Morgan in the 83rd minute to head Antonio Valencia's cross beyond Kasper Schmeichel, marking his official debut with a decisive contribution.

Jamie Vardy had earlier equalised after capitalising on a hideous lapse from Marouane Fellaini following Jesse Lingard's superb solo opener in the 31st minute.

Much-travelled Ibrahimovic hopes the Community Shield is just the start of a trophy-laden stay with United.

He said: "This is my 31st trophy, collective trophy, and I'm super happy. This is why I came and hopefully I can win much more than this."

The 34-year-old has played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe during his career, including Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, but he believes United top the lot, saying he is "honoured and proud" to play for the Red Devils.

He said of his first few months at Old Trafford: "The club, outside the team, is probably the biggest club I've played in."

Mourinho dedicated the win to his predecessor Louis van Gaal.

He said: "He won the FA Cup and without him we wouldn't be here now celebrating."

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