Jose Mourinho says Manchester United will sign a “very good midfielder” before the transfer window closes but again refused to confirm it would be Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
United’s pursuit of the France international, who left United for Juve four years ago, has dominated the summer market with reports suggesting a deal in the region of £100million is getting close to completion.
Mourinho has signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and has repeatedly stated his business would be done once he brought in a midfielder.
He told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Leicester City at Wembley: “We got a young central defender that needs time to be a top one [Bailly], but he has top potential and we believe a lot in him.
“We brought Micki [Mkhitaryan] here, we know the quality he has. We got a super striker [Ibrahimovic] and we are going to get a very good midfield player, so I am happy with the balance of my squad. I’m happy with the effort that the club has, and is still putting in for us.”
Asked if that midfielder would be Pogba, he added: “We have 22 [players] and we are going to have 23. I don’t like to speak about other clubs or players from other clubs. Other managers like to do that, they like to speak about my club and my players. I am very pragmatic on this.
“All that matters is what happens in my house and not in my neighbour’s house. Paul Pogba is a Juventus player until he isn’t, officially, so we stay like this. The market closes on August 31 but I think my club is trying to do everything to close our market before the 14th.”
One man not in Mourinho’s plans is former Germany international Bastian Schweinsteiger who has been banished to the reserves.
Mourinho said of the former Bayern Munich man: “I think it is what is happening in every club in the world which is the manager decides his squad and chooses a certain number of players to face the season and that’s it.
“Normally I like to work with 20 players plus the three goalkeepers which is what I have done for 15 years.
“But at the same time we also have so many competitions and especially the Europa League is a competition that changes a lot. You can play 15 matches…you play on the Thursday…you have a big risk…travel a lot.
“Normally you are going to play the Premier League on the Sunday so I made the decision to be with 23 players plus three goalkeepers which I think is still a lot and I had to make my decisions.”