Mourinho keen on Pogba after 'fantastic' Mkhitaryan signing

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been busy in the close season, with former Borussia Dormund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan the latest to sign at Old Trafford.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been busy in the close season, with former Borussia Dormund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan the latest to sign at Old Trafford.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • French midfielder Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola, will hold talks with Juventus after Euro 2016 to see if he can broker a deal for the player to join either Manchester United or Real Madrid.

Juventus are adamant that the 23-year-old, who has a contract with the Serie A club until 2019, is not for sale and will do everything in their power to keep him.

They recently offered Pogba a new contract, which would extend his deal for a further two years and increase his annual wages from €5 million (S$7.46 million) to €7 million.

However, manager Jose Mourinho hopes United will meet the player's demands of €15.6 million a year in an attempt to move ahead of Real in the chase.

That may still not be enough to ensure Pogba returns to Old Trafford, unless United can find an agreement with Juventus.

The Italian champions would dismiss a €100 million offer out of hand but it is unclear if they would consider a bid of €120 million.

United have already made three signings this summer, following the arrival of Mourinho as manager - Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

On Wednesday, they announced the signing of the midfielder Mkhitaryan for a fee believed to be £30 million (S$52.44 million).

The 27-year-old Armenian has signed a four-year contract after joining from Borussia Dortmund, with the option for a further year.

He made 140 appearances and scored 41 goals for Dortmund after joining them from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.

The midfielder is Armenia's all-time top scorer, with 19 goals in 59 appearances since his international debut in January 2007, and he has collected the Armenian footballer of the year award on five occasions.

Said Mourinho: "Micki is a fantastic player and what I like more is something that is undeniable, which is the number of goals that he scores by not being a striker.

"The number of assists is also very clear because it shows clearly his creativity, his vision and his concept of collective play, and that is something that I believe is really important for a club like us.

"We try to be dominant and will, for sure, face teams with a very defensive profile which is his capacity of acceleration of the game," said Mourinho.

"He has a change of speed with the ball and without the ball, and that is very, very important for a club like ours."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Mourinho keen on Pogba after 'fantastic' Mkhitaryan signing'. Print Edition | Subscribe