After months of speculation regarding Manchester United’s pursuit of Paul Pogba, it seems as though they’ve finally started in their attempts to sign the Frenchman.
On Tuesday, Sky Italy reported that United will make an opening offer of around £87 million for the Juventus star. However, almost immediately, the Old Lady rejected the offer from Jose Mourinho’s side for the 23-year-old.
While it’s fairly obvious that United are keen to re-sign their former player, is their former player actually interested in re-joining the club? Well, according to Manchester Evening News, the Frenchman has told his agent, Mino Raiola, he is ‘happy’ to sign for the side he left just four years ago.
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It was believed that Pogba preferred a move to Madrid over Manchester but, after the European champions have seemingly pulled out of the chase, it leaves the midfielder with a simple choice: Juventus or United.
Earlier this year - when a return to the Theatre of Dreams looking incredibly unlikely - Pogba described his time in Manchester as a ‘holiday’ under Sir Alex Ferguson.
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Pogba on his time at United
“People need to know that nothing at Juve is easy,' Pogba told Italian newspaper La Stampa, per the Daily Mail.
“There is a different culture of work compared to elsewhere. I was at Manchester and it seemed like being on holiday.”
It’s unlikely that Mourinho will allow Pogba to feel like he’s on holiday - especially if he becomes the most expensive player in history.
Pogba on joining United
Last week, Pogba was asked about the possibility of leaving Juventus for United during a brief interview on ESPN.
"I don’t know. Let’s see," he replied. "For the moment I'm at Juve and I'm happy. I don’t know where I want to go." Pogba added United were his 'first family' and, when pressed on a possible return to Manchester, smiled and replied: "I don't know. We'll see, we'll see."
Woodward working hard
The absence of United’ executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, from their tour to China sparked reports that he had stayed in Manchester to conduct negotiations with Pogba’s representatives. It's claimed that, while the players and staff were jetting off to the far East on Tuesday, Woodward met with Juventus’ directors Giuseppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici as well as the player’s agent, Raiola.
But Woodward was told that the opening offer fell short of the club’s valuation for Pogba.
While a fee is still to be agreed, Raiola has already sorted personal terms between Pogba and the club with the midfielder ready to accept a deal worth £250,000-per-week for five years.
United are keen to buy and the player is 'happy' to join them. It just seems like a matter of time then, surely.