Football: United could offer $177m for Pogba, while Juve hold firm

France's midfielder Paul Pogba acknowledges the fans after France lost to Portugal 1-0 in Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, on July 10.
France's midfielder Paul Pogba acknowledges the fans after France lost to Portugal 1-0 in Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, on July 10.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Manchester United are set to make an official bid for Paul Pogba today, with club officials meeting the Juventus directors Giuseppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici as well as the player's agent, Mino Raiola, to discuss the deal.

United are expected to make an opening bid of £100 million (S$177 million) with £13 million of that performance-related add-ons.

Juventus are likely to reject that offer - they want £100 million without add-ons to even contemplate a sale - and are still hoping to hold on to the 23-year-old midfielder, who has a contract until 2019.

The Serie A club will meet United to get a sense of whether they would be prepared to raise their offer and will then talk to the player and Raiola.

Spanish newspaper Marca yesterday reported that United could complete the signing of Pogba "in the coming days".

Pogba, however, has not yet said that he wants to leave the club and the deal is likely to hinge on him demanding a move.

He would be offered a contract worth £250,000 a week. If the two clubs can agree on a deal, the Frenchman would become United's fourth summer signing following the arrivals of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Real Madrid are the only other club the player could join and manager Zinedine Zidane said on Monday: "I am happy with the squad I have got and it's difficult to improve on it. Do I like Pogba? Of course, he's a very good player and every club wants the best players but right now he's at Juve and we have a large squad already."

Zidane added: "There are still lots of players yet to join up with the squad and with the Euros going on we couldn't do anything.

"We have three games coming up and that's the focus at the moment."

Jose Mourinho, who replaced Louis van Gaal in the summer, flies to China this week with his team for the club's pre-season tour.

There they will face Borussia Dortmund on July 22 and Manchester City three days later.

Mkhitaryan and Bailly are both in the travelling party.

Luke Shaw will continue to step up his fitness after making his return from long-term injury in the weekend friendly at Wigan, while Axel Tuanzebe, Will Keane and Andreas Pereira will get a chance to impress on the week-long trip.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2016, with the headline 'United could offer $177m for Pogba, while Juve hold firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe