London (AFP) – Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hasn’t travelled to China for the club’s pre-season tour, as the Premier League giants try to secure the world record capture of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
United reportedly had a record-breaking £86 million ($113 million, 102 million euros) offer for Pogba rejected this week, but they are expected to return with an improved bid that could reach £100 million.
The 23-year-old left United for Juventus on a free transfer in July 2012 after making just a handful of appearances, prompting then manager Alex Ferguson to slam him for showing no respect to the club.
But Pogba has since emerged as one of the top midfielders in Europe and was an integral part of the France side that reached the Euro 2016 final.
New United manager Jose Mourinho is determined to lure Pogba back to Old Trafford and Woodward opted out of United’s trip to China, for friendlies against Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, in favour of focusing on the transfer negotiations with agent Mino Raiola.
Woodward and Raiola are reported to have thrashed out terms of a contract that would pay Pogba around £220,000-per-week, but United still have to convince Juventus to part with their prize asset.
The Guardian says Juventus want £100 million plus £8 million add-ons for a player who is also attracting interest from Real Madrid, with head coach Zinedine Zidane an admirer of his compatriot.
Pogba has played a crucial role for Juventus in their dominance of the domestic scene in the past few seasons and his arrival would be the marquee name Mourinho covets to reestablish United as the Premier League’s dominant force.
Mourinho has already signed Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan since replacing the sacked Louis van Gaal.
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