London (AFP) – French midfielder Paul Pogba is a target for Manchester United their manager Jose Mourinho all but confirmed to the BBC in an interview given in China.
The Portuguese handler told the BBC it would be pointless to pull the wool over their eyes and say he and United weren’t courting Italian champions Juventus’s 23-year-old playmaker — who could cost the English club a world record £100million ($131m, 119m euros) just four years after he left them for £800,000.
“You have smoke, you have fire,” said Mourinho, who is in China with the squad for a friendly tournament involving Manchester City — managed by his bitter rival Pep Guardiola — and Borussia Dortmund.
“I am not going to try to make you naive and believe that we are not trying for one player.”
However, Mourinho, who replaced the sacked Louis van Gaal shortly after the Dutchman had overseen United win the FA Cup last season, said if the Pogba deal fell through there was a fallback option.
Pogba’s French international team-mate the tireless Paris Saint Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi has been mentioned as an alternative.
“We set four targets for us, we got three of them and we are going to get the fourth,” said Mourinho.
“We established the profile of four players to improve the squad, to give us more options, especially adapted to my way of thinking about football.
“Everybody speaks about one, but it wouldn’t be a surprise for me if it is not him and it is another one because we went for profile.
“We have two more options in front of us and we are going to close one.”
Mourinho’s three successful forays nto the market since he took over have been bringing veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in on a free transfer, signing young Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly for a reported £30million from Villarreal and splashing out a fee believed to be between £26 million and £35m for Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Dortmund.
United finished fifth in the Premier League last season, 15 points behind shock champions Leicester City, and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
That prompted the club to sack Van Gaal and replace him with former Chelsea boss Mourinho.
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