Belfast Telegraph

Paul Pogba makes big Manchester United £89m return

By Mark Critchley

Paul Pogba arrived at Manchester United's training ground to undergo a medical yesterday ahead of his imminent record-breaking transfer from Juventus.

The 23-year-old midfielder was photographed arriving at Carrington with his mother, Yeo Moriba, following a flight from Nice to Manchester.

Pogba was granted permission to have the medical by Juventus at the weekend and his return to United, for a world record transfer fee of £89.1m, will be confirmed by the club in midweek.

The France international, who arrived to the medical in a car manufactured by United's shirt sponsors Chevrolet, returns to Old Trafford having left just four years ago.

Pogba made only seven senior appearances during his first spell at the club between 2009 and 2012, despite playing an integral role in United's 2011 FA Youth Cup-winning side.

At Juventus, however, Pogba has developed into one of world football's best central midfielders, having helped the Bianconieri win four Serie A titles.

Jose Mourinho, the United manager, attempted to sign Pogba while in charge of Chelsea last summer and hailed his imminent signing following Sunday's Community Shield win over Leicester City.

"United is the perfect club to bring him to the level he wants to be," he said.

"The Premier League is the perfect habitat for that. If you want to be the best player in the world, if you go to Barcelona or Real Madrid you are in trouble because I don't think the other two big guys (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo) will let you.

"Here he is in the most seen, worldwide, championship which is absolutely incredible, with a team which wants to bring Manchester United to the top again.

"We have everything to give him and we know the reasons why he wants to come to us."

United defender Daley Blind, meanwhile, hailed the start of a new era at the club after winning the Shield in Mourinho's first competitive match in charge.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his debut and scored the winning goal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on and, biggest of all, Pogba was announced as being on his way back to Old Trafford.

It was with a real sense of confidence and optimism that Blind spoke afterwards about the change in atmosphere at the club since Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal.

Blind played at centre-back with new signing Eric Bailly, and promised that this is just the start of what should be a far more successful era at United.

"I am always optimistic, and this is exciting," Blind said. "We have a great squad, we have picked up the first prize, but there is lots more to come. We have to move on."

United won their last trip to Wembley, the FA Cup final in May, and Blind said that the winning feeling they now have is important. "We worked hard on Sunday, and really wanted to win this trophy," he said.

"This was a very important game. It was hard to reach the FA Cup final and win it, so it was an honour to play in this game. We wanted another trophy."

The FA Cup and Community Shield this summer are United's first two trophies since 2013, when Sir Alex Ferguson won his last Premier League before David Moyes won the Community Shield. It has been a barren spell since, but Blind said that Mourinho was changing the mentality. "(Mourinho said) that a club the size of United always has to play for titles," Blind said. "We are competing for everything, and we want to win."

Debutant Bailly revealed afterwards how much he was enjoying working with Mourinho.

"It is a pleasure to learn under him," Bailly said. "I hope to continue growing and stay at United in the long term. La Liga is also a great championship, but the Premier League is different, more direct, more contact. I hope, to adapt to this."

Belfast Telegraph


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