There’s a growing sense of anxiousness surrounding Manchester United fans as they eagerly await the announcement of Paul Pogba’s return.
Respected sources claim the deal is as good as done. According to French outlet L’Equipe, United have agreed a £105 million fee with Juventus. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail claim Pogba has accepted a £220,000-a-week deal to rejoin the club.
But it’s not quite Christmas Eve for United supporters. Regardless of the lengthy wait, children know that December 25 is coming. In United’s pursuit of Pogba, there’s always the possibility that some hitch will scupper the deal.
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Real Madrid renewing their interest, for example. Or Juventus managing to persuade the 23-year-old to stay and play another season in the Champions League.
It’s safe to say that United’s excitement will be mixed with a hint of relief if Pogba signs.
Jose Mourinho has already signed Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the transfer window and adding Pogba would surely force bookmakers’ to reassess their decision to make Manchester City favourites to win the title.
But the Portuguese didn’t rule out the possibility of signing a different midfielder if Juventus continue to drag their heels over Pogba.
"We know the profile of the player we want and we have three faces that fit that profile," Mourinho told reporters in China, per the Mirror.
"I'm really confident Mr Woodward [United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward] and the owners can get the profile of the player I think the squad needs."
Matuidi and Matic
Mourinho went on to reaffirm his desire to sign one more player and the Mirror believe Nemanja Matic and Blaise Matuidi are the United manager’s alternative targets.
Though Chelsea’s Matic and Paris Saint-Germain’s Matuidi do not offer the same level of excitement that Pogba does, both would be welcomed at Old Trafford.
Mourinho brought Matic back to Chelsea in 2014 after he left Stamford Bridge for Benfica and the Serbian quickly established himself as a formidable defensive-midfielder with excellent awareness.
The Serbian struggled last season, but then again, which Chelsea player didn’t?
Meanwhile, reports that Matuidi left the France camp during Euro 2016 to meet with United officials turned out to be false. But that hasn’t stopped the rumours from circulating.
While both are older than Pogba - Matic is 27, Matuidi is 29 - both would command less than half the amount Juventus want for their midfielder.
And in a team that is currently in a rebuilding process, having another matured head around wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
The biggest thing to note from the Mirror’s report is that United have options. The value in that can’t be understated.