Jose Mourinho knows what he wants and usually gets it.
Usually that is until he came up against Everton over John Stones and now he is finding difficulties over enticing Paul Pogba away from Juventus.
It’s not so much the club this time, but the player. Pogba appears happy at the Serie A club and has already supposedly turned down Real Madrid.
Mourinho is happy for Manchester United to spend £80m+ on the 23-year-old Frenchman, just so that he can land his key target.
However, Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has reportedly set a deadline of the end of July for his client’s future to be resolved. So nothing is certain.
The Juventus midfielder is Mourinho’s primary transfer target this summer and he isn’t letting go easily.
Pogba is currently resting in Los Angeles, recovering from his run to the final of this summer’s European Championships with host nation France, but will be in constant communication with Raiola.
If not Pogba at United, then who? Here are three alternatives…
The Frenchman is one of the most complete central midfielders in Europe. His athleticism is matched by his seemingly unending energy and when playing he helps to carry the ball from his side’s box to the opposition’s.
Less lethal than Pogba in the final third, Blaise Matuidi would still be an excellent addition for United, though at 29 he would offer little re-sale value.
He was also extensively scouted by Phil Neville under the ill-fated reign of David Moyes. Grzegorz Krychowiak’s arrival in the French capital, not to mention recently appointed head coach Unai Emery’s preference to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, puts Matuidi’s PSG future in doubt.
Earlier in the summer, Mourinho was supposed to be texting the player amid a £79m transfer from PSG.
The Italian, who missed out on the Euro’s through injury, is under contract to the Paris club until 2020 with the option of a further year. Now that Blanc has gone, what was unlikely to happen may now become a possibility.
Verratti is a cool and composed presence in midfield, known for his impeccable distribution and ability to dictate the tempo of matches from the centre. Injuries restricted him to just 18 Ligue 1 appearances last season, but despite the lack of games, he was still able to win 24 tackles, make 26 interceptions and complete 21 of 25 attempted take-ons.
He also created 20 chances and maintained a passing accuracy of 93 per cent. Verratti is a classy performer with a great future ahead of him, so it’s little surprise Mourinho is hoping to recruit him for his new United side.
Having been strongly linked with a switch to United in the past, Arturo Vidal instead opted for a move to Bayern Munich last summer and played a hugely influential role in the defence of their Bundesliga crown.
It remains to be seen whether new Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti will want to retain the Chilean’s services, but the capture of Renato Sanches certainly puts his first-team chances at risk. Both offer a similar tenacity in the middle third, though Vidal’s ball retention qualities are far more refined than Sanches’, with the European Championship winner very much a diamond in the rough.
The 29-year-old’s long term injury issues may also result in a move away from the Allianz Arena, particularly if Ancelotti feels it would be worth Bayern cutting their losses on the Chile international.
While Vidal won’t offer a similar offensive thrust as Pogba, his energy in the middle of the park to not only limit the opposition offensive, but turn defence into attack, would undeniably improve United’s midfield.