Manchester United are on the brink of re-signing Paul Pogba from Juventus in a deal worth over £100m ($131m).
United will pay a world record £89m (105m euros) transfer fee, with other costs such as agents fees to be added.
Pogba will have a medical in the next few days with the deal due to be completed in midweek.
The 23-year-old, who left United for £1.5m in 2012, is set to return for a fee that surpasses Gareth Bale’s £85m move to Real Madrid in 2013.
The Old Trafford club still have to agree personal terms with the France midfielder, although that is expected to be a formality.
United boss Jose Mourinho said on Friday he wanted the deal to be done by the time his side play their opening Premier League game at Bournemouth on 14 August.
In four seasons in Turin Pogba, who helped France reach the Euro 2016 final, won four league titles.
He is Jose Mourinho’s fourth signing at United, after Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
It is the first time in 20 years an English club will have paid a world record fee.
Newcastle United were the last to do so when they spent £15m signing England striker Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers.
Pogba joined United from French club Le Havre in 2009 as a 16-year-old, but made just a handful of appearances before his contract expired in July 2012.
Pogba has made 178 appearances for Juventus, scoring 34 goals, and helped the club reach the 2015 Champions League final. The Serie A side had offered him a new contract, while Real Madrid were also interested in signing him.
Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, also represents striker Ibrahimovic, who signed for United on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain, and midfielder Mkhitaryan, who joined from Borussia Dortmund.
Why did Pogba leave Man Utd?
In August 2011, then United manager Six Alex Ferguson described Pogba as a “young boy” who was “showing great promise”.
He said: “If we hold Pogba back, what’s going to happen? He’s going to leave. So we have to give him the opportunity to see how he can do in the first team and he’s got great ability, plus he’s got the physique and athleticism.”
However, later that year, with Paul Scholes retired, Owen Hargreaves leaving and Darren Fletcher injured, Brazilian full-back Rafael was preferred to Pogba in midfield, a decision the Frenchman later said “disgusted” him.
Scholes came out of retirement aged 37 in January 2012, and Pogba said: “I didn’t want to sign a contract as Ferguson didn’t play me, even though there were no midfielders there.
“I was frustrated because he spoke to me a few times and said I was nearly there. When I saw Scholes come back, part of me was really happy as he’s a legend, but I knew it was the end of me.”
Pogba left United when his contract expired, with the Red Devils receiving a £1.5m fee as compensation.
Any other reasons?
In his second autobiography, Ferguson said he “distrusted” Pogba’s agent, Raiola, describing their first meeting as a “fiasco”.
“He and I were like oil and water,” said the Scot. “From then on, our goose was cooked because Raiola had been able to ingratiate himself with Paul and his family and the player signed with Juventus.”
Juventus full-back Patrice Evra, who was at United with Pogba, said the club initially “underestimated” his France team-mate.
Speaking in 2014, he said: “I went to talk to him and spent two hours with his parents and his brothers to discuss his future, even though I’m just a player.
“I said, ‘Here in Manchester you will become a legend. Be patient’. I tried to tie him up. I even tried to put him in padlocks. But, no, he’d already made his choice.”
How good is Pogba?
- Former France striker Thierry Henry believes he can go on to become “one of the best in history” while fellow World Cup winner Patrick Vieira described him as an “extraordinary player” and said it was a “mistake” for Manchester City not to sign him from United
- Ex-United captain Bryan Robson said Pogba reminds him of Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure because “he is very good going forward and scores spectacular goals”
- United legend Ryan Giggs said Pogba “has got everything”
- France legend Zinedine Zidane thinks Pogba is a “complete player”
- Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said in May 2015 that Pogba “needs to stop showboating in midfield” and that he makes “avoidable” mistakes
- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims Pogba is in a “maturing period” and will not find his best form until the age of 26
- Former England striker Gary Lineker asked during Euro 2016 if he was “the world’s most overrated player”
- Ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes had questioned Pogba’s reported £86m valuation, saying he was “nowhere worth that kind of money yet”
- Under-20 World Cup winner and player of the tournament (2013)
- 4 Serie A titles (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16)
- 2 Coppa Italia (2014-15, 2015-16)
- 2 Supercoppa Italiana (2013-14, 2014-15)
Most recent five times the world transfer record was broken
- 2013 – Gareth Bale £86m (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid)
- 2009 – Cristiano Ronaldo £80m (Manchester United to Real Madrid)
- 2009 – Kaka £56m (AC Milan to Real Madrid)
- 2001 – Zinedine Zidane £46m (Juventus to Real Madrid)
- 2000 – Luis Figo £37m (Barcelona to Real Madrid)