Manchester United have told Barcelona that French star, Paul Pogba is not for sale.
Pogba was back at Carrington this week and it remains to be seen whether he is part of Mourinho’s plan for Friday’s season opener against Leicester City at Old Trafford.
The club’s chief executive Ed Woodward is understood to have been dismissive of any notion that Pogba would be allowed to leave, whatever strains there may be in the relationship with manager Jose Mourinho.
Nevertheless, it has been a frustrating end to the transfer window for the club with the prospect now that they may be unable to make any signings before the Thursday 5pm deadline that has proven such a problem for clubs such a United and Tottenham Hotspur.
United have been quoted enormous prices for the like of Jerome Boateng, Yerry Mina and faced complete resistance to a sale in the case of Harry Maguire, for whom Woodward was a great advocate.
The early deadline has meant that non-Premier League clubs in particular, and some agents, have forced demands high in the expectation that some English clubs could be panicked into buying players because they fear being left short at the start of the season.
Jose Mourinho is expected to give his first Premier League pre-match press conference of the season on Thursday and the reaction of the United manager will be instructive given his downbeat attitude in pre-season.
The wisdom of moving the deadline date forward to before the start of the season will surely be looked at again, given its effect on some of the league’s most prominent clubs. United were among those who voted for the change which was introduced largely so that players were focussed on their own clubs – although the disadvantages have far outweighed the benefit.
Barcelona’s reputed offer for Pogba of cash and players suggests that they remain unable to make market-moving deals for leading players. The resistance of the leading English clubs to selling players to Spain’s big two has grown accordingly. It has been the same at Chelsea where Eden Hazard will stay now despite the overtures from Real Madrid.