Saturday 26 May 2018

Pogba a big part of Jose's United jigsaw

Reds boss wants Juve ace to spearhead his Old Trafford revolution

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, pictured in training in Shanghai yesterday. Pic: Reuters
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, pictured in training in Shanghai yesterday. Pic: Reuters
Juventus’ Paul Pogba could be on his way back to Manchester United in a £105m deal.

Paul Pogba is one of three midfield transfer options Jose Mourinho is considering as the Manchester United manager looks to complete his squad.

Four years on from departing Old Trafford without making a first-team start, the 23-year-old is being trailed by his former club having flourished at Juventus.

The Italian giants have reportedly turned down a world-record transfer bid for Pogba and work continues to add the final piece of the United jigsaw, with the player's agent Mino Raiola taking to Twitter to state "there is no deal done" despite "lots of bla bla bla".

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has not travelled on the pre-season tour to China as United look to finish their transfer business, with Mourinho targeting a central midfielder to complete his squad.

However, Pogba is one of three players being considered by United, with Paris St Germain's Blaise Matuidi another name regularly linked with a move to Old Trafford.

"I don't confirm, I don't deny, I cannot tell you," Mourinho said when asked whether Pogba is on his way to United.

"First of all because I don't think it's correct to speak about players from other clubs. He is a Juventus player and he is not a Man United player.

"The only thing I can say is that my board, my directors, they did fantastic work to do 75 per cent of the job I asked them to do.

"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.

"We are calm, we know the profile of player we want.

"We have three faces to fill that profile and I am really confident that Mr Woodward and the owners will bring me that profile of player that I think the squad needs to have a good balance." Summer signings Mkhitaryan and Bailly are with Mourinho in China as United undertake a short pre-season tour in a country where they claim to have more than 100 million supporters.

The only new recruit not to travel to Shanghai was Ibrahimovic, who was left out of the 25-man squad despite Sweden's group-stage exit at Euro 2016.

"Look, the best suits are the suits by measure, right?" Mourinho said when asked about Ibrahimovic's absence.

"They should be better suits by measure rather than going to a shop and just buying a size that may fit you well or not so well.

"I do the same for the players. There are not two players the same so my decision with Zlatan is a consequence of many hours of study, of analysis, of discussion with my staff.

"In spite of being out of the Euros one match before the English guys, everything is different. The body is different, the mind is different, the personality, the time he needs to adapt, time he needs holidays."

"The way I am trying to build the team, it is more important for me that (I work with) the players from other positions than the one I think that is going to play as the striker.

"I need to change the profile of this team in relation to other dynamics and the striker will be the easy one to finish the puzzle."

The first real test of Mourinho's tenure will come in sweltering Shanghai today as United face Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup.

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