Cull before Pogba deal

France midfielder Paul Pogba, 23, is set to be Jose Mourinho's fourth and final summer signing for Manchester United. Mourinho has also decided who does not have a future at Old Trafford.
France midfielder Paul Pogba, 23, is set to be Jose Mourinho's fourth and final summer signing for Manchester United. Mourinho has also decided who does not have a future at Old Trafford.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

World Cup winner Schweinsteiger among biggest names headed for Old Trafford exit

LONDON • Jose Mourinho took the first significant steps to reshape his Manchester United squad on Thursday by telling nine players, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, that they can leave Old Trafford.

Mourinho has already brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly after he took charge of the Premier League club in the close season.

Yesterday the British media declared that highly sought Paul Pogba is also in the bag.

The move had been talked about for weeks, with even sportswear giant adidas, which sponsors United, Juventus and has a boot deal with Pogba, teasing viewers in its latest commercial starring the French midfielder, with the Red Devils' crest seen briefly in one scene.

According to The Guardian, Juventus have accepted an offer of €110 million (S$165.19 million) plus add-ons for the 23-year-old.

However, the Italian club will announce the initial fee as €100 million to take account of the tax they will pay.

The €100 million figure will place Pogba level with Gareth Bale as the world's most expensive player. That is what Real Madrid paid to take Welsh forward Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

Pogba reportedly passed his medical check-up yesterday.

He had joined United from Le Havre in 2009 but made just seven first-team appearances before leaving for Juventus in 2012.

United play a friendly against Galatasaray in Gothenburg today, when Ibrahimovic is expected to make his debut for the club.

Captain Wayne Rooney told Manchester radio station Key 103: "He's (Mourinho's) made in my opinion great signings. They've gelled really well with the squad, so it's exciting times."

To streamline his squad for next season, Mourinho has begun to cull players, with World Cup winner Schweinsteiger the most high-profile casualty.

The German midfielder, who announced his retirement from international football yesterday, was greeted with much fanfare on his arrival at Old Trafford last summer.

However, the 31-year-old has now been told that he is surplus to requirements.

Adnan Januzaj, the Belgium winger, has also been told that he can leave. So, too, Andreas Pereira, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah, the 18-year-old Dutchman who made 10 appearances last season, has been made available on loan, as has full-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

Mourinho is happy for centre-back Tyler Blackett to leave on a permanent deal should a buyer come forward for the academy graduate.

Paddy McNair, the Northern Ireland defender, has also been informed that he can leave Old Trafford, along with strikers Will Keane and James Wilson.

Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Memphis Depay have all been linked with moves away from Old Trafford, but they will fly to Gothenburg to play Galatasaray.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, who has rebuilt his Liverpool side this summer for £30 million less than the single fee for Pogba, pooh-poohed the princely sum.

"If you bring one player in for £100 million and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney," he said.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Cull before Pogba deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe