Ed Woodward was in Italy on Tuesday to meet with Juventus directors Giuseppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici.
The topic of conversation was Paul Pogba. The Frenchman’s agent, Mino Raiola, was also present as negotiations regarding the midfielder’s move to Manchester United began.
Woodward has been in constant discussion with Raiola over the course of the summer, and not entirely through choice. The agent includes Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan among his clientele and when Jose Mourinho told Woodward to sign the pair, United’s executive vice-chairman was forced into action.
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The emergence of ‘super agents’ has seen Raiola become big business in football. Indeed, he is set to earn £18.4 million from Pogba’s transfer.
According to El Confidencial, Woodward hosted another super agent before flying to Turin to meet with Marotta, Paratici and Raiola.
The Spanish outlet report that Woodward met with Jorge Mendes in his Manchester office on Monday. And it wasn’t simply to discuss how their mutual friend, Mourinho, was settling into life at his new club.
Mendes represents Mourinho, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo; a clear sign of his status as football’s chief transfer broker.
The Portuguese also includes Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez among his extensive stable of high-profile clients. The Colombian, 25, has been the subject of much speculation for the entire summer and El Confidencial believe Woodward threw United’s hat into the ring when he spoke with Mendes on Monday.
Apparently Woodward told Mendes to expect United to make a €65 million bid for James in the coming days.
Hard to believe
El Confidencial are one of the more reputable Spanish publications, but we find this one very difficult to believe.
For a start, United are poised to take their summer spending to £160 million with the impending arrival of Pogba. Financial Fair Play means there is a limit to Mourinho’s spending and, despite United’s commercial revenue meaning they are less hindered by the regulations, spending more on James would certainly run the risk of breaching UEFA’s rules.
And Madrid could be hit with a transfer ban from FIFA that will prevent them from registering players until 2018. Zinedine Zidane isn’t foolish enough to sell a player who could play an important role next season with a ban looming.
Should Pogba arrive, Mourinho will have done enough in the transfer window to build a team capable of winning the Premier League. The defence, midfield and attack have all been bolstered and Pogba would be the cherry on top.
Signing James just has all the makings of another Angel di Maria saga.