The transfer saga of the summer could be entering the final straight, with Manchester United poised to put a record-breaking offer on the table for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. Reports in both England and Italy on Tuesday claim that United will offer 100 million pounds ($130 million) for the France international. A contract worth well over 200,000 pounds ($262,000) a week is also reported to have been put on the table for a player who left Old Trafford for just 800 thousand pounds ($1 million) four years ago.
With United’s only real rivals to land Pogba, Real Madrid, now poised to sign the cheaper Andre Gomes instead, Jose Mourinho looks firmly in the box seat to get the blockbuster signing he craved upon taking over. The pursuit is not quite at an end yet, however.
For one, Juventus remains keen to keep hold a man who has been a key part of its success in recent years. Indeed, both The Guardian and Sky Italy report that the Turin club will ask for even more money from Manchester United. In part, that is because, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, there is a clause allowing Pogba and agent Mino Raiola to pocket 20 percent of the transfer fee.
That may explain why Raiola, who has already helped broker the deals that have taken Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Old Trafford earlier this summer, has been so coy about the transfer. On Tuesday, he emphatically dismissed the rumors that he has been in contact with Manchester United.
“All of what you read is bulls**t. That’s all there is,” he told Goal.com.
Still, further space could soon be made in the Manchester United squad, with Mourinho set to move on four young players. James Wilson, Tyler Blackett and Guillermo Varela were all left out of United’s squad that traveled to China on Tuesday for two preseason fixtures, while Will Keane is also reported to be on the way out despite making the trip.
Wilson and Blackett both made positive starts to their Manchester United careers, but have failed to make any impression since. Keane and Varela, meanwhile, have featured sparingly for the senior team.
A far more experienced player could also be the subject of a transfer out of Old Trafford. Bastian Schweinsteiger endured an injury-plagued first season at Old Trafford, and that troubled fitness record continued at Euro 2016. With that in mind, the 32-year-old may be allowed to leave by Mourinho, reports the Manchester Evening News. Turkish giant Fenerbahce, which signed both Robin van Persie and Nani from United last summer, has previously been linked.
With doubts also over the futures of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, Pogba may not prove to be the last piece of business of the transfer window should he arrive. Yet it is still extremely difficult to imagine a rumor linking United with a move for Liverpool’s Joe Allen coming to fruition. The South Wales Evening Post is one of the publications to report on the possibility of a deal for a player who was voted into the team of the tournament for Euro 2016 but whose future is currently uncertain.
Even taking away from the question of whether Allen is up to the standard required at Mourinho’s Manchester United, transfers between English football’s two most successful clubs are extremely rare. Indeed, you have to go back to 1964 to find the last player to move between the two North West rivals.