London (Guardian) Paul Pogba will join Manchester United only if his first choice of Real Madrid proves impossible, with Jose Mourinho's hopes of securing the France midfielder resting on outbidding the Spanish club and meeting the player's wage demand of €300,000 (S$468,500) a week.
United and Real both want Pogba, though Juventus do not want to lose the Frenchman, who scored in his country's 5-2 Euro 2016 quarter-final defeat of Iceland on Sunday. This means the clubs would have to match Juventus's minimum €100m valuation in the first instance, and there would then be a bidding war.
If United were to offer a higher fee than Real and have this accepted, Mourinho would next have to mount the hurdle of Pogba preferring to play for the European champions rather than for United.
The Portuguese would hope agreeing to Pogba's salary expectations could do this and the influence of the player's agent, Mino Raiola, may also be a telling factor.
Raiola brokered the deal for Mourinho to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is also a client, on a free transfer. He is also set to seal the transfer of Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan, another whom the Dutchman represents, to United.
Mourinho and United hope this relationship can help make a return to the club for Pogba possible. Raiola, it is understood, believes Pogba may be better suited by a return to United rather than a move to Real.
When Pogba left Old Trafford in 2012 Raiola played a key role. Sir Alex Ferguson was then the manager and he later blamed Raiola for United losing Pogba.
Last year, in his book Leading, Ferguson wrote: "There are one or two football agents I simply do not like, and Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba's agent is one of them. I distrusted him from the moment I met him. We had Paul under a three-year contract, and it had a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign. But Raiola suddenly appeared on the scene and our first meeting was a fiasco.
"He and I were like oil and water. 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."
Mourinho officially began working at United on Monday in advance of his official unveiling at the club on Tuesday. On Wednesday the former Chelsea manager will meet some of his players for the first time when those not involved in Euro 2016 or the Copa America return for tests before pre-season. These include Juan Mata, Phil Jones, Memphis Depay, Adnan Januzaj, Daley Blind and James Wilson.