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Wednesday 7 December 2016

United have yet to table bid for Pogba not out

Jose not out of starting blocks in race for Juve star as Koeman's keen on big move for Mata

Manchester United have yet to make a formal offer for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, pictured here during last night’s Euro 2016 final against Portugal Picture: PA
Manchester United have yet to make a formal offer for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, pictured here during last night’s Euro 2016 final against Portugal Picture: PA

Manchester United's pursuit of Paul Pogba is not even out of the starting blocks yet despite reports the Reds are almost set to break through the finishing tape in the race for the Juventus midfielder.

Manager Jose Mourinho remains favourite to persuade the 23-year-old former United academy player and 2011 FA Youth Cup winner to return to Old Trafford.

United are certainly interested in buying back the French player they let leave for nothing in 2012 but it is understood that the excitement surrounding an alleged imminent sealing of a massive deal is extremely premature.

United have been reported to be prepared to break the £85m world transfer record Real Madrid paid Spurs for Gareth Bale to land Pogba.

Real Madrid are the Reds' only rivals in the chase but are said to be unwilling to match the kind of amounts United would be happy to go to land Mourinho's fourth priority target of the summer.

Contract

Juventus remain keen to keep hold of the player they picked up as a free agent four years ago when a new contract dealings with Alex Ferguson at United acrimoniously collapsed.

Pogba claimed the then Reds boss failed to play him enough to convince him to stay.

Fergie has admitted that he didn't get on with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola and that contributed to the exit.

But United are now in pole position, however, they have yet to seriously get their teeth into making the move from Turin back to Manchester happen.

Juventus on the other hand are also reported to be in such a financial position they could reject any huge bid from Old Trafford.

Mourinho wants Pogba in place before the season starts at Bournemouth on Sunday August 14 to conclude his so-called "fundamental" transfer business.

But with United not yet deep into negotiations and Juve ready to stand firm, and Real not completely out of the picture, it could still turn into a saga.

The business could gather some pace once Pogba returned from his Euro 2016 duties with France.

Meanwhile, Everton manager Ronald Koeman appeared to confirm the club's interest in signing United playmaker Juan Mata during a brief chat with fans.

A video has emerged on social media of Koeman responding to fans' questions about speculation surrounding The Toffees' interest in Mata and Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel.

When asked for an update on Everton's transfer plans, the Dutchman replied: "We are working hard but we will get some good ones."

Another fan then asked whether Witsel and Mata would be moving to Goodison Park and was told by Koeman: "It's possible."

Mourinho risks upsetting the United squad if he decides to sell Mata, who was sold by Mourinho to United in January 2014 and is well liked among his team-mates. It is understood his possible departure would be 'very unpopular' inside the dressing room.

Mourinho appeased the United squad before he met them by offering vice-captain Michael Carrick a contract extension weeks after his appointment was confirmed.

United players arranged a get together two days following the FA Cup final in Carrick's honour, since they were uncertain about his future, but Mata's United career was plunged into further doubt by Henrikh Mkhitaryan's arrival.

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