Man Utd slap £200m price tag on Paul Pogba as Jose Mourinho feud reaches new low on camera



Posted Thursday, September 27, 2018 by Express.co.uk

Man Utd slap £200m price tag on Paul Pogba as Jose Mourinho feud reaches new low on camera
Man Utd news: The pair clashed on the training field on Wednesday (Image: GETTY)

JOSE MOURINHO's war with Paul Pogba hit a new low in front of TV cameras on Wednesday as Manchester United decided to demand a world-record £200m transfer fee for the French midfielder.

The toxic relationship between the manager and his star player, made worse in recent weeks, is threatening to wreck United's season.

Pogba wants to leave Old Trafford for Barcelona and Mourinho, who it is understood has been informed of that desire, appears happy to push him closer to the exit.

But until the January transfer window opens – or more likely next summer's – they have to work out an uneasy truce in a bid to pull United out of their early-season crisis.

Already eight points off the pace in the Premier League and out of the Carabao Cup following Tuesday's defeat by Derby, it will only get worse for United if the atmosphere in the dressing room is marred by divisions.

TV footage of Mourinho and Pogba on the training field on Wednesday only confirmed the cold war. The duo had a terse exchange at the Carrington training ground, captured by Sky Sports cameras.

The manager appears to make a remark that prompts the player to turn around and scowl. The pair are then seen exchanging heated words, at which point Mourinho calls over club press officer John Allen.

Mourinho appears to be upset that Pogba posted a video on Instagram showing him and team-mates Luke Shaw and Andreas Pereira laughing in the stands during United's Carabao Cup defeat by Derby on Tuesday.

Allen spoke with both men before Pogba marched off nodding his head, and he was then seen shrugging his shoulders at his team-mates. When contacted by Express Sport on Wednesday, Allen declined to comment on the discussion.

Many United followers would prefer to keep Pogba than Mourinho given the way the team is playing, but sources close to the player suggest he wants to leave regardless of who the manager is.

After all, it has always been the career plan mapped out by his agent Mino Raiola: to come back to England for a few years then move to one of Spain's big two.

Raiola has been trying to engineer a move away for his client for months, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola revealing in April he had been offered Pogba.

Barcelona confirmed their interest in Pogba in the summer – and agreed a package with Raiola for his client – as the 25-year-old basked in the glory of France's World Cup triumph.

But it could be next summer before the World Cup winner leaves Old Trafford because Barcelona do not have the funds to buy him in the January transfer window. The Spanish giants would need to reduce their enormous wage bill before being able to sign Pogba.

Man Utd slap £200m price tag on Paul Pogba as Jose Mourinho feud reaches new low on camera
Man Utd news: It's now a question of who will leave the club first (Image: GETTY)

Pogba has been a popular figure with the players and the breakdown of his relationship with Mourinho puts them in a difficult position. They will not want to take sides but cannot avoid the tension in the camp.

Mourinho had to reassert his authority after Pogba's thinly-veiled criticism of his tactics following the draw with Wolves.

Former Tottenham and Egypt star Mido, who was represented by Raiola, believes Pogba was wrong to criticise Mourinho.

"If I was at United, even if I didn't like Mourinho, I'd be fuming with Pogba," said Mido.

"I'm sure former players like Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand would say: 'You can't do this here'. You must respect your team-mates and the group."

Man Utd slap £200m price tag on Paul Pogba as Jose Mourinho feud reaches new low on camera
Man Utd news: Pogba watched the defeat to Derby from the stands (Image: GETTY)

Ashley Young, made captain against Derby, was blunt in his criticism of the team after the penalty shoot-out defeat at Old Trafford.

He said: "They had more intensity than we did. When you play these games you have to show that intensity and go further than the opposition. We didn't do that and got punished."

That has become a worryingly common theme this season – they were also out-battled by Brighton, in the second half by Tottenham and by Wolves. The problem now for United is finding a way forward until the window opens.

Pogba is too good a player to leave out and the Carabao Cup loss underlined that United need his quality in midfield, even though stats show they win a bigger percentage of matches without him. He was rested for the Derby game but United need their two warring egocentrics to establish a truce to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League – which is a minimum requirement.

Otherwise, it will not just be Pogba who leaves but also Mourinho. And the club, six years after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, will be right back to square one.

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