As the wait for Paul Pogba’s arrival goes on, Manchester United will step up its preparations for the new season with a meeting with Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on Friday. After opening its preseason, and the reign of Jose Mourinho, with a 2-0 win over Championship side Wigan on Saturday, the meeting with Dortmund begins a short tour of China, which will also take in a meeting with Manchester City on Monday.
It will also be the first time that Mourinho will have his England internationals, as well as Spain goalkeeper David Gea, with him after their layoff following Euro 2012. However, the likes of Wayne Rooney won't yet be available for selection.
The only players now missing from the squad are Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial and, despite Sweden’s early exit from Euro 2016, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The striker, who moved to Old Trafford from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer earlier this summer, has also been given a longer rest by Mourinho.
"My decision on Zlatan is the consequence of many hours of study, analysis and discussion with my staff,” Mourinho said at a press conference in Shanghai. “Despite the fact he was out of the Euros one match before the English guys, everything is different. The body is different, the mind is different and the timing to have holidays and even things you don't know, and don't have to know, is to prepare in a different way like we do at training level.
“The way I'm building the team is more important for me with the players from other positions than the one I think who is going to play as the striker. I need to change the profile of the team in relation to other dynamics. The striker will be the easy one to finish the puzzle.”
There will, though, be a further chance to integrate the club’s other arrivals so far this summer. Mourinho has already confirmed that Eric Bailly will start alongside Phil Jones in defense, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is likely to get some playing time against the club he left to join United last month.
Borussia Dortmund on Friday moved to replace Mkhitaryan by re-signing Mario Gotze from Bayern Munich. The man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final won’t be in China as after going to the Euro 2016 semifinals with Germany. Also absent will be fellow new arrival and Euro 2016 winner Raphael Guerreiro and Julian Weigl.
Fellow summer signings Marc Bartra, Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor will, though, be involved, as Dortmund once again attempt to move on from the loss of key players. As well as Mkhitaryan, Dortmund has also seen Mats Hummels depart to Bayern Munich and Ilkay Gundogan leave for Manchester City, who Dortmund will take on next Thursday.
After a superb first season under Thomas Tuchel, finishing second in the Bundesliga and for a time taking the fight to Bayern Munich, Dortmund is again attempting to replace departed stars with players who will soon become ones.
Despite the fact that the Bundesliga season doesn’t get underway until Aug. 27, two weeks after the Premier League commences, Dortmund has already played four preseason games, winning three before going down to 1860 Munich. For its fifth contest, Tuchel will be without the injured Marcos Reus and Matthias Ginter, but will have former Manchester United attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa.
Kickoff Time: 8 a.m. EDT
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