France’s midfielder Paul Pogba France’s midfielder Paul Pogba

LONDON: France midfielder Paul Pogba’s world record transfer to Manchester United from Italian champions Juventus is poised to go ahead subject to him passing a medical, the clubs confirmed yesterday. The long-running saga suddenly took a huge step forward when Juventus announced they had granted permission for the 23-year-old to undergo the medical at a club he left four years ago for a pittance.

The move is also subject to Pogba agreeing his personal terms with the club. “Yes, Pogba has been authorised to undergo a medical in Manchester,” a Juventus spokesman told AFP. United confirmed the news with a short statement on their club website. “Paul Pogba has been granted permission to have a medical in order to finalise his transfer from Juventus to Manchester United,” it read. United manager Jose Mourinho, who is on the verge of securing the fourth of his four transfer targets in the close season, said he would not talk about it until after United’s clash with champions Leicester City in the Community Shield at Wembley later on Sunday.

Pogba, who was part of the France side that lost to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final last month, tweeted rather enigmatically: “When too many people talk nobody understands-talk very soon”. Early signs that a deal was imminent came when Pogba didn’t travel with the Juventus squad to London for a 3-2 friendly win against West Ham United yesterday. Media reports said the French international had already arrived in Manchester. The fee for the transfer is expected to exceed £100 million ($130.4 million, 117.7 million euros) for a player who was able to leave United for just £800,000 in 2012 and of whom United icon Alex Ferguson, then the manager, said at the time had shown no respect to the club. Pogba, who enjoyed a successful time at Juventus winning four Serie A titles and reaching the 2015 Champions League final, has been courted by United for quite some time although it is really only in this close season they have persisted.

However, initially they faced reported competition from European champions Real Madrid, a move Pogba was rumoured to prefer so he could link up with coach Zinedine Zidane. However, Real, never ones to shirk paying huge money for stars like Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years, didn’t pursue the player, leaving Pogba’s options to either moving to United or remaining with Juventus. A reported initial £86 million bid was rejected by Juventus. Pogba went on holiday to the United States after the Euro final defeat leaving his powerful agent Mino Raiola to sort a deal out but matters had still not been resolved by the time he returned.

Mourinho, though, hinted strongly last week that Pogba would become a United player although he added he wanted everything signed off by August 14 when they open their Premier League campaign against Bournemouth. The huge fee has drawn criticism and raised eyebrows from some of Mourinho’s rivals such as old sparring partner Arsene Wenger and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp. Mourinho gave them short shrift remarking their comments were not “ethical”. Pogba’s arrival would secure the four signings Mourinho had set his sights on when he replaced Louis van Gaal at the end of last season. Pogba will join young Ivorian defender Eric Bailly, Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan and veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in arriving at Old Trafford this summer. Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic are both also represented by Raiola. —AFP