SHANGHAI, China, July 21 – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted on Thursday the club needs one more signing before the season starts but would not confirm it would be record target Paul Pogba.
Media reports in the UK Wednesday suggested United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had pulled out of the club’s pre-season tour to China so he could meet and agree personal terms with Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola.
Mourinho was asked directly at a news conference in Shanghai whether he could confirm the reports.
“I don’t confirm and I don’t deny. I cannot tell you,” Mourinho said on the eve of the International Champions Cup match against Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai Friday.
“I don’t think it’s correct to speak about players of other clubs, and he’s a Juventus player and not a Manchester United player.
“The only thing I can tell you is that my board, my directors they did fantastic work to do 75 percent of the job I asked them to do,” said Mourinho.
“I asked them for four players. To be more accurate I asked them for four or five players I need.
“I gave them a few options and they did for me 75 percent of the job with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Henrikh) Mikitharyan and (Eric) Bailly and they have just 25 percent to do until the 31st of August.
“We are calm. We have three faces to fill the profile. I am confident Mr Woodward will get the player we need to get a good balance.”
Mourinho has reportedly made French international Pogba his top transfer target as he bids to make a big impact in his first season at Old Trafford but it could cost the club a record-breaking £100 million ($130 million, 119 million euros) to land the midfielder.
United are believed to have had an opening bid of £86 million rejected by Juventus and an improved offer could shatter the previous world record fee of £85 million paid by Real Madrid for Gareth Bale in 2013.
Mourinho has already spent more than £50 million on defender Bailly from Villarreal and midfielder Mkhitaryan from Friday’s opponents Dortmund, as well as recruiting Ibrahimovic who left PSG on a free transfer.
Pogba, 23, had a spell at United but was allowed to leave for Juventus on a 2012 free transfer while still a teenager after just a handful of appearances under then manager Alex Ferguson, who slammed him for showing no respect to the club.
Pogba has since emerged as one of the top midfielders in Europe, playing an integral part in the France side that reached the Euro 2016 final and helping Juventus win four successive Serie A titles.
Manchester United round off their China tour against fierce rivals Manchester City in Beijing on Monday.