In one sense you could say that Paul Pogba’s relationship with Jose Mourinho has improved over the summer. Last season it was clear that Mourinho was upset with the French midfielder; this season it’s clear that Mourinho is upset with literally everyone, from the Glazers to Ashley Young’s cat. So that’s progress, perhaps?
But not enough progress. The Daily Star Sunday says Pogba, fresh from his World Cup success with France, is as close to leaving Old Trafford as he ever was. Which is to say, reasonably close but not actually that close.
Pogba’s agent, the influential Mino Raiola, is reportedly gearing up for some good old-fashioned “crunch talks” about his client’s future this week. The crunchiest element of these discussions will be Raiola’s declaration that he is able to “broker a £100m deal” to sell Pogba to Barcelona.
Juventus and Paris Sant-Germain have also been linked with 25-year-old, but Raiola is “expected to tell” United chiefs that he can get them their money back for Pogba – plus a little bit more – by sending him to Catalonia (minus a little bit less for Raiola’s mult-million pound cut).
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With the Red Devils heavily linked with Barca defender Yerry Mina, Raiola could even attempt to negotiate some kind of swap deal. Similarly, the Star suggests he may try to help United sign one of his other clients, Marco Verratti, from Paris Saint-Germain. (Possibly in a swap deal with Pogba, if the other one doesn’t work out). It’s all quite complicated. That’s why he’s worth it.
Man Utd revert to Alderweireld as Mina deal collapses
Speaking of which, the Sun on Sunday says United’s bid for Mina has collapsed due to “a row over agent’s fees”, leaving Mourinho in “panic mode” as he seeks a new centre-back.
Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld remains his first choice, with the Sunday Mirror claiming United are “closing in” on a player they seemed to have given up on last week. Swinging things in Mourinho’s favour could be the fact that his board are now willing to meet the Belgian’s £60m asking price.
Alternatively, the Sunday Express says Mourinho is still “plotting a move” for Leicester defender Harry Maguire, although the Foxes continue to demand a rather fanciful £80m for the large-headed Yorkshireman.
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) August 4, 2018
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In yet more United gossip, the Sunday Mirror says the Red Devils will offer Anthony Martial to Chelsea in a straight swap for their midfielder Willian, with both players valued at £75m by their clubs.
Chelsea want Aaron Ramsey
The Blues are also being tipped, for the second time this week, to make a move for Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who was linked with Liverpool yesterday but is today allegedly the subject of a £35m bid from Stamford Bridge, according to the Sunday Express.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are set to hold talks with star man Eden Hazard tomorrow, in which they will offer him a £300,000-a-week contract to dissuade him from joining Real Madrid (Sunday Times). If only they could throw in some Champions League football as well.
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Elsewhere, Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele has turned down a move to Inter Milan although he is still looking to leave north London (Sun on Sunday), Borussia Dortmund are “refusing” to sell American winger Christian Pulisic, who is wanted by Chelsea and Bayern Munich (Mail on Sunday).
Wolves have made a £16m bid for Croatia’s World Cup defender Domagoj Vida (Sabah). The same Domagoj Vida who was yesterday linked with a £25m move to Arsenal and before that a £20m move to Liverpool and a £22m move to West Ham. The same Domagoj Vida whose agent has not slept since the World Cup final.