Manchester United have reportedly failed with a world-record offer to Juventus for Paul Pogba, though senior players are said to be increasingly confident of the Frenchman’s arrival.
The France midfielder left Old Trafford four years ago after failing to make a sustained first-team breakthrough.
He is now among the world’s most valuable players, and the Guardian says United offered a transfer package worth £100million, which was turned down. The Serie A champions are said to be seeking a basic fee of £100million plus £8million in add-ons.
United are in China for a short pre-season trip but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has stayed behind to lead the Pogba negotiations, according to several national newspapers.
Pogba, 23, has won four successive Italian league titles with Juventus.
Should he join United, he would become a third high-profile recruit by Jose Mourinho, after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mourinho will seek to strengthen his squad further should he eventually sign Pogba, but the Daily Mail reports that the new manager will have to first sell four members of his first-team squad.
According to the report, that quartet is most likely to be Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Morgan Schneiderlin.
The Daily Mail also claims “senior players are confident it is only a matter of time” before Pogba returns to Old Trafford, though his agent Mino Raiola emphatically denied reports of a meeting between all parties over the weekend.