Sunday 23 October 2016

Pogba leaves everyone in dark on deal

Paul Pogba. Photo: Martin Rickett
Paul Pogba. Photo: Martin Rickett

Paul Pogba has been keeping up his fitness in New York as uncertainty continues to surround his future.

Manchester United are reportedly ready to pay a world-record fee to bring Pogba back to the club from Juventus this summer.

The 23-year-old France midfielder has been on holiday in the United States following his involvement in Euro 2016, and a video posted on his Instagram account late on Tuesday showed him doing a Muay Thai workout, aiming kicks and punches at the pads of a trainer.

An accompanying message read: "Afternoon sweat #newyork #combat #muaythai"

Reports have suggested a move to United for around £100million could be sealed in the next few days, although another video to have emerged seems to have added some doubt to the situation.

In footage from YouTube channel ItalianFootballTV, Pogba appears to say "yes" when he is asked, as he signs a football outside a New York hotel, if he is staying at Juve.

That comes after Pogba's agent Mino Raiola last Friday tweeted: "Journalist = parrots. No deal done between clubs. It's a game between Italy press and UK press who announce it first and who is worse." United declined to comment on Pogba when contacted yesterday about the player's expected transfer.

United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted United will make another signing before the summer transfer window closes, but refused to say if Pogba was his primary target.

"We are going to sign one more player that is for sure. But I don't want to speak about Paul because he is a Juventus player," he said before Wayne Rooney's testimonial last night.

"We will sign a player before the transfer window closes, but I would prefer to make the signing before the Premier League season starts," he added.

New United signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is excited by the prospect of playing alongside Rooney at Old Trafford and described his new team-mate as the "perfect partner for a striker".

The new pairing linked up to good effect in United's 5-2 friendly victory over Galatasaray in Gothenburg on Saturday. "I said many years ago the perfect partner for a striker is Wayne Rooney," Ibrahimovic said yesterday.

"He works not only for himself but for the striker and the whole team. I'm absolutely happy to be one of the guys beside him."

It remains to be seen what role Rooney will play under new coach Jose Mourinho this season, with the forward having been increasingly used as a midfielder under previous boss Louis van Gaal.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, signed from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, is a natural candidate for a role behind the striker, while the pursuit of Pogba threatens to add further competition in the middle of the pitch. Ibrahimovic, however, is confident that Mourinho will find a way of getting the best from United's talented options.

"I think every big player can work with other big players," Ibrahimovic continued. "That's not a problem.

"We are 11 players not two players on the pitch. It's up to the coach what he wants but, with him, I see no problems, only success."

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