Manchester United are set to make an official bid for Paul Pogba in the next 24 hours 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.
Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, was originally due to travel with the team to China for their pre-season tour on Tuesday but he did not board the plane and it is understood that he will be part of the delegation that is meeting Juventus.
United are expected to make an opening bid of £100m with £13m of that performance-related add-ons. Juventus are likely to reject that offer – they want £100m 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. Pogba has not yet said that he wants to leave the club and the deal is likely to hinge on him demanding a move.
Pogba would be offered a contract worth £250,000 a week. If the two clubs can agree a deal the Frenchman would become United’s fourth summer signing following the arrivals of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. If a deal can be concluded Pogba would return to the club he left in 2012.
Real Madrid are the only other club the player could join and the Spanish club’s manager 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.”
The new United manager, José Mourinho, who replaced Louis van Gaal in the summer, and the team flew to China on Tuesday. There they will face Borussia Dortmund on 22 July and Manchester City three days later.
Ibrahimovic is not in the travelling party but Mkhitaryan and Bailly are. 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.