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Aug 082016
 

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Pogba scores for France at Euros

Manchester United are on the brink of re-signing Paul Pogba from Juventus in a world record £89m deal.

United will pay 105m euros for Pogba and performance-related bonuses and other costs could see that figure rise.

The midfielder will have a medical in the next few days with the deal due to be completed in midweek.

The 23-year-old, who left United for £1.5m in 2012, is set to return for a fee that surpasses Gareth Bale’s £85m move to Real Madrid in 2013.

The Old Trafford club still have to agree personal terms with the France midfielder, although that is expected to be a formality.

Pogba’s imminent medical was announced just over 90 minutes before Sunday’s Community Shield, which United won 2-1 against Leicester.

Boss Jose Mourinho said after the game at Wembley that United is the “perfect” club and the Premier League is the best stage for Pogba.

“We have everything to give him and we know the reasons why he wants to come to us,” added Mourinho.

“He comes because he knows the club, knows the city, many of the players and wants to be an important part of the project.

“If you want to be the best player in the world, if you go to Barcelona or Real Madrid you are in trouble because I don’t think the other two big guys [Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo] will let you.”

Asked about the size of Pogba’s transfer fee, Mourinho said: “I don’t think Real were upset when they broke the record with Gareth Bale or Cristiano.

“I don’t think it’s a reason to be sad – it’s a reason to be proud.

“Football is crazy and the market has become crazy. What you think this season is crazy, you realise three years later it’s not crazy any more.

“What is expensive and not expensive in football? I don’t know any more. I just know he is a big player.”

In four seasons in Turin, Pogba, who helped France reach the Euro 2016 final, won four league titles.

He is Mourinho’s fourth signing at United, after Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

It is the first time in 20 years an English club will have paid a world record fee.

Newcastle United were the last to do so when they spent £15m signing England striker Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers.

Pogba joined United from French club Le Havre in 2009 as a 16-year-old, but made just a handful of appearances before his contract expired in July 2012.

He has made 178 appearances for Juventus, scoring 34 goals, and helped the club reach the 2015 Champions League final. The Serie A side had offered him a new contract, while Real Madrid were also interested in signing him.

Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, also represents striker Ibrahimovic, who signed for United on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain, and midfielder Mkhitaryan, who joined from Borussia Dortmund.

Why did Pogba leave Man Utd?

Pogba made just seven first-team appearances during his time at Old Trafford without scoring a single goal

In August 2011, then United manager Six Alex Ferguson described Pogba as a “young boy” who was “showing great promise”.

He said: “If we hold Pogba back, what’s going to happen? He’s going to leave. So we have to give him the opportunity to see how he can do in the first team and he’s got great ability, plus he’s got the physique and athleticism.”

However, later that year, with Paul Scholes retired, Owen Hargreaves leaving and Darren Fletcher injured, Brazilian full-back Rafael was preferred to Pogba in midfield, a decision the Frenchman later said “disgusted” him.

Scholes came out of retirement aged 37 in January 2012, and Pogba said: “I didn’t want to sign a contract as Ferguson didn’t play me, even though there were no midfielders there.

“I was frustrated because he spoke to me a few times and said I was nearly there. When I saw Scholes come back, part of me was really happy as he’s a legend, but I knew it was the end of me.”

Pogba left United when his contract expired, with the Red Devils receiving a £1.5m fee as compensation.

Any other reasons?

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Archive: Man Utd disrespected me – Pogba speaking 2014

In his second autobiography, Ferguson said he “distrusted” Pogba’s agent, Raiola, describing their first meeting as a “fiasco”.

“He and I were like oil and water,” said the Scot. “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.”

Juventus full-back Patrice Evra, who was at United with Pogba, said the club initially “underestimated” his France team-mate.

Speaking in 2014, he said: “I went to talk to him and spent two hours with his parents and his brothers to discuss his future, even though I’m just a player.

“I said, ‘Here in Manchester you will become a legend. Be patient’. I tried to tie him up. I even tried to put him in padlocks. But, no, he’d already made his choice.”

How good is Pogba?

  • Former France striker Thierry Henry believes he can go on to become “one of the best in history” while fellow World Cup winner Patrick Vieira described him as an “extraordinary player” and said it was a “mistake” for Manchester City not to sign him from United
  • Ex-United captain Bryan Robson said Pogba reminds him of Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure because “he is very good going forward and scores spectacular goals”
  • United legend Ryan Giggs said Pogba “has got everything”
  • France legend Zinedine Zidane thinks Pogba is a “complete player”
  • Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said in May 2015 that Pogba “needs to stop showboating in midfield” and that he makes “avoidable” mistakes
  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims Pogba is in a “maturing period” and will not find his best form until the age of 26
  • Former England striker Gary Lineker asked during Euro 2016 if he was “the world’s most overrated player”
  • Ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes had questioned Pogba’s reported £86m valuation, saying he was “nowhere worth that kind of money yet”
Pogba made the joint most assists (12) in Serie A last season

Honours

  • Under-20 World Cup winner and player of the tournament (2013)
  • 4 Serie A titles (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16)
  • 2 Coppa Italia (2014-15, 2015-16)
  • 2 Supercoppa Italiana (2013-14, 2014-15)

Most recent five times the world transfer record was broken

  • 2013 – Gareth Bale £86m (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid)
  • 2009 – Cristiano Ronaldo £80m (Manchester United to Real Madrid)
  • 2009 – Kaka £56m (AC Milan to Real Madrid)
  • 2001 – Zinedine Zidane £46m (Juventus to Real Madrid)
  • 2000 – Luis Figo £37m (Barcelona to Real Madrid)
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale takes on Pogba in the Champions League – Pogba’s Juventus lost to Barcelona 3-1 in the 2015 final

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Highlights: Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United

Jose Mourinho began his reign as Manchester United manager with a trophy as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late header to beat Leicester in the FA Community Shield at Wembley.

Jesse Lingard, who scored the final goal of the Louis van Gaal era with the winner in the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, put United ahead before half-time when he ran 40 yards and beat four men to slot home.

League champions Leicester replied when Marouane Fellaini’s dreadful back-pass let Jamie Vardy in to round David de Gea and score.

But summer signing Ibrahimovic, 34, typically had the final word with seven minutes to go, rising to meet Antonio Valencia’s cross and beat Kasper Schmeichel via the post.

The outspoken Swede had stated beforehand that the shield would be the first trophy he would be bringing home as a United player, and so it proved for the veteran striker.

Leicester had brought Mourinho’s second stint in charge of Chelsea to an end with a 2-1 defeat at King Power Stadium in December on their way to the title but this was a much happier occasion for the Portuguese.

Mourinho has even more reason to be cheerful ahead of the start of the new Premier League season next week as United announced before the game that Paul Pogba is set to have a medical before a potential return to Old Trafford for what would be a world record fee.

Relive how Manchester United won the Community Shield

Watch the goals from Wembley

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Man Utd’s Lingard opens scoring with superb solo effort

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Fellaini error leads to Vardy equaliser

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Ibrahimovic heads Man Utd winner

New-look United – same old problems

It took less than a minute for the United fans to start chanting their new manager’s name, but it is going to take a lot longer for Mourinho to make this team his own, even with his recent purchases.

The Portuguese warned this week it would take time to change his players’ mentality after two years of former boss Louis van Gaal’s regimented safety-first style, and he was right.

For much of the game they did not look very different to how they did under the Dutchman, with their continuing lack of creativity their most obvious failing, something Lingard’s fine individual effort could not disguise.

Their summer signings so far could not change that, especially midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who only appeared from the bench in stoppage time. Along with Pogba, he will be expected to create more chances for United’s strikers than they got on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic saw little of the ball in the Leicester box until he scored the winner with only his second effort at goal and his partnership with Wayne Rooney is clearly in its early stages.

At the back, Eric Bailly made a solid enough start but is still learning his lines in English football – he was booked for barging over Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and could easily have had a second yellow card for another clumsy challenge.

There was a bizarre moment in injury time when Juan Mata, himself a 63rd-minute substitute, was replaced by Mkhitaryan, to the Spaniard’s apparent displeasure.

No Kante, but same old Leicester

N’Golo Kante has left for Chelsea but not much else has changed about champions Leicester, or the tactics that brought them their surprise success last season.

Rather than start with any of his six summer signings, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri brought in long-serving Andy King to replace Kante in the heart of his midfield, and his side continued to sit back, absorb the opposition’s possession and threaten on the break through Vardy’s pace.

Like last season, they also threatened from set-pieces, with Shinji Okazaki heading against the bar from an early corner.

It was only at the break, with his side trailing, that Ranieri tried something different, bringing on summer signing Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray.

Nigeria international Musa, who cost a club record £16m from CSKA Moscow, had already made a splash in pre-season with his performance against Barcelona and he made an instant impact with his part in Leicester’s equaliser.

It was Fellaini who played the final ball but Musa had burst forward to put United on the back foot in the first place.

Two more new faces, midfielder Nampalys Mendy and defender Luis Hernandez, came on for the last half hour without making much of a mark but with the Champions League putting extra demands on Ranieri’s squad, we are sure to see more of them in the weeks to come.

Man of the match – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

It has to be Zlatan. He promised to make an impact and did exactly that. United fans who watched their side struggle up front last season will hope there is a lot more of the same to come

What they said

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic: “It feels good. First official game, we play for the trophy and we win. That’s what it’s all about, winning trophies.

“This is my 31st trophy, collective trophy, and I’m super happy. This is why I came and hopefully I can win much more than this. Our team is something big going on. We’re at the beginning, but we begin with a trophy, so it’s a good start.”

United manager Jose Mourinho: “The first half performance was much better than the second. The team isn’t fit enough yet.

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Man Utd fitness a concern for Mourinho

“When Leicester increased the pace, they had three quick players and changed the game. It’s an important victory but we have lots of work to do.

“I would be not ambitious if I said it was a fantastic performance. It wasn’t. It’s always important to start with a trophy.”

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri: “Congratulations to Manchester United, but also to my players as we made a great match. I thought the minimum we deserved was penalties, but when you play against great champions, this can happen.

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Foxes deserved penalty shootout – Ranieri

“They knew our counter attacking strength well and did everything to stop us. We’re not at 100%, but it’s positive.”

Community Shield in numbers

  • 21: The number of times Manchester United have won the Community Shield, a record figure (17 outright wins and four shared titles).
  • 20 years: Jesse Lingard is the first Manchester United player to score in the FA Cup final and subsequent Community Shield since Eric Cantona in 1996.
  • 97: No player had more touches than Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater.
  • 3: The FA Cup winners have now won the Community Shield in each of the last three seasons.

(Statistics include the Charity Shield, which was the Community Shield’s name between 1908 and 2002)

What next?

Leicester begin the defence of their Premier League title against newly promoted – and currently manager-less – Hull on Saturday. Mourinho’s first competitive game in charge of United comes on Sunday at Bournemouth.

Live Text

Match ends, Leicester City 1, Manchester United 2.

Second Half ends, Leicester City 1, Manchester United 2.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Antonio Valencia.

Attempt blocked. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution, Manchester United. Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaces Juan Mata because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Eric Bailly.

Offside, Manchester United. David de Gea tries a through ball, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is caught offside.

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

Jeffrey Schlupp (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Leicester City. Leonardo Ulloa replaces Robert Huth.

Substitution, Manchester United. Morgan Schneiderlin replaces Wayne Rooney.

Juan Mata (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Demarai Gray (Leicester City).

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Marcos Rojo.

Goal! Leicester City 1, Manchester United 2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Antonio Valencia with a cross.

Attempt missed. Ahmed Musa (Leicester City) header from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Robert Huth with a headed pass.

Substitution, Leicester City. Jeffrey Schlupp replaces Christian Fuchs.

Attempt blocked. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Demarai Gray.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Manchester United).

Demarai Gray (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Daniel Drinkwater.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Juan Mata (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

Attempt missed. Luis Hernández (Leicester City) right footed shot from long range on the right is high and wide to the left.

Eric Bailly (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Manchester United).

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution, Manchester United. Marcus Rashford replaces Anthony Martial.

Substitution, Manchester United. Marcos Rojo replaces Luke Shaw.

Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution, Manchester United. Juan Mata replaces Jesse Lingard because of an injury.

Substitution, Leicester City. Luis Hernández replaces Danny Simpson.

Substitution, Leicester City. Nampalys Mendy replaces Andy King.

Delay in match Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) because of an injury.

Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Michael Carrick.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Manchester United).

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