Jose Mourinho continues to not talk directly about Paul Pogba but it is getting harder and harder for him to ignore the white elephant in the room.
Mourinho, 53, spoke on Friday as Manchester United’s new manager prepares for his first official game in charge of the Red Devils, the FA Community Shield at Wembley against Leicester City this Sunday.
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Once again, Mourinho didn’t want to talk about Pogba directly — his reported $130 million world-record transfer from Juventus still hasn’t been confirmed — but then again, he didn’t really have to after these comments.
Asked if the deal for the 23-year-old French international midfielder was edging closer, Mourinho said this to reporters.
“I don’t like to speak about other players. Other managers like to do that. What matters to me is only what happens in my house, not the house of my neighbor,” Mourinho said. “Pogba is a Juventus player until officially he isn’t. It stays like this. I think my club is trying to do everything to close our market before August 14. So hopefully by next week we will have our squad closed. That squad includes another new big signing. We have 22 now, and we are going to have 23.”
Mourinho also went on to discuss how happy he was with his business so far this summer.
“We decided to bring in four players not 10, but four who are Manchester United level and we think can really improve the squad,” Mourinho said. “A young defender (Eric Bailly) that needs time to be a top one but who has top potential. A creative player (Henrikh Mkhitaryan) that we know the quality, a super striker (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) and we are going to get a very good midfielder. Our market was good. We try for balance. I am happy with my squad. I am happy with the effort of the club.”
Some other interesting tidbits to come from his press conference was the fact that he mentioned it’s taking a while for he players to adapt to his methods, plus he said his treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger — the German midfielder has been ordered to train with the reserves because Mourinho deems him surplus to requirements — is normal and happens at every club.
He also had a subtle dig (come on, this is Mourinho) at two fellow Premier League managers.
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This thinly-veiled attack was obviously meant for Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger who have both recently lamented the reported $130 million offer from United for Pogba’s services. Mourinho called comments from other managers about his club “unethical” and claimed he would never do such a thing.
Never change, Jose. Never change.