Manchester United have been left a clear run in their push to sign Paul Pogba with Real Madrid’s interest in the French midfielder fading and a £100m Old Trafford bid for the 23-year-old now imminent.
United manager Jose Mourinho has made it very clear that he does not have faith in the same young players as his predecessor Louis van Gaal, with James Wilson, Tyler Blackett and Guillermo Verela all omitted from the club’s pre-season tour squad that embarked for China on Tuesday and now likely to be offloaded.
With Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola the first of the pair to show interest in young English talent, through an official telephone inquiry about 17-year-old West Ham defender Reece Oxford on Monday night – Mourinho is pushing United to press home the world record Pogba deal.
United have already passed up the chance to buy Portuguese star Renato Sanches to focus on Pogba. It was becoming increasingly clear on Tuesday night that the Spanish club’s president Florentino Perez does not want to join the chase for the Frenchman, who does not fit the profile of player he generally likes to sign. Perez prefers instead to sign Valencia’s Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes.
With no other club in the race for the Frenchman, that leaves the ground clear for United to make the first play of what promises to be the most extraordinary transfer deal of the summer, with Juventus demanding £100m plus £13m add-ons dependent on Pogba’s performances, goals and trophies with United.