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Manchester United could sign their next transfer priority for £100m by granting Paul Pogba’s 2019 wish – Manchester Evening News

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The Glazers’ investment in Manchester United’s playing squad this summer won’t be enough to appease every United supporter – nor will it ever be – but they are doing themselves no harm with a large section of the fanbase by sanctioning the signings of multiple world-class players.

Their treachery in attempting to sneak United into the farcical proposed Super League in April will never be forgotten, nor will the scenes at Old Trafford on May 2 when fans breached the stadium and caused the postponement of British football’s biggest fixture.

But alternative owners are in short supply given the club’s £3billion valuation and the family’s reluctance to sell up, and United are on course to pull off their best transfer window since 2007.

It’s no coincidence that United are going big in the market – the Glazers have bridges to rebuild, or build, and the murmurs of discontent surrounding their continued ownership would turn into roars if they didn’t give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer what he needs to assemble a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League.

It was 14 years ago when United last had a truly great transfer window. Nani and Anderson both arrived from the Primeira Liga, Owen Hargreaves from the Bundesliga and Carlos Tevez from the East End. A year later, United were champions of England, champions of Europe.

United are about to announce the signing of another Englishman from the Bundesliga and are confident of recruiting a world champion and four-time Champions League winner in Raphael Varane. Kieran Trippier, like Jadon Sancho, was nurtured in the Manchester City academy but is yearning for a return to the north west in Stretford rather than Eastlands. All three players have won major trophies in the last 18 months and could cost a combined £150million.

United’s outlay in 2016 was similar, when Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly arrived from Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal respectively. Zlatan Ibrahimovic came from Paris Saint-Germain on a free, too.

On paper, those names are more strikingly impressive, but United’s recruitment drive is different now: they sign sensibly, prioritising in the right areas and executing a long-term strategy. This is the fifth window since Solskjaer’s permanent appointment and he is on the brink of assembling a squad capable of challenging for major honours.

Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani are all Solskjaer signings too and should line up against Leeds United, fitness permitting, alongside Sancho and Varane, in just over three weeks’ time.

Ideally, United would be signing another central midfielder, West Ham’s £100million-rated Declan Rice, to complete their busniess, but that might be beyond them given they are yet to agree to any significant player sales and with the pandemic still affecting finances in the sport.

A Pogba departure, amid rumours linking him with a move to France with PSG, might change things. Pogba hasn’t inked a fresh contract at United since his return in 2016 and it would surprise many were he to sign a new one, despite his family’s happiness living in the region, before his current deal expires on June 30 next year.

Pogba’s future has never been far from the agenda and two years ago he memorably said on an adidas tour of China that “it could be time for a new challenge”. There was playfulness in the France camp at Euro 2020 around the talk of Pogba moving to the Parc des Princes, and perhaps that new challenge will finally come in the form of a return to the city he grew up in the suburbs of.

Rice, even then, may remain out of reach, but perhaps not, and there are alternatives in Eduardo Camavinga, Wilfred Ndidi and Yves Bissouma, too.

Whether Pogba leaves or not, United will begin the season in as harmonious and as strong a position as they have done in years. A title challenge is expected, regardless of who the owners are.

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