Pogba 'back home' at United in world-record transfer
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Emerging from the shadows, Paul Pogba - a red devil emblazoned on the side of his head - removed his hood, looked straight into the camera and uttered the words Manchester United fans had been waiting to hear: "I'm back."
With that 26-second video teaser released by United early yesterday, the France midfielder became the world's most expensive footballer at around €105 million ($116 million), and England's biggest club made another statement of intent during its latest offseason of heavy spending that moved close to $200 million.
"I just went for a holiday," said Pogba, who left United at age 19 for Juventus four years ago, virtually for nothing when his first contract with the club expired. "I've come back home."
This was the new Man United at work: breaking the world-transfer record; announcing the signing after midnight local time to suit foreign audiences; a series of glitzy videos included one with a grime artist where Pogba produces some impressive dance moves.
United will hope the 23-year-old Pogba saves his best work for the football field, though. And he's certainly dreaming big in his new era for the club under JosÈ Mourinho.
"First of all, win the league for the first time with United because I hadn't won the league when I left," Pogba said. "The Champions League, of course, and, personally, one of my dreams is to win the Ballon d'Or (FIFA's world player of the year award).
"That will come with time, hopefully, but first the Premier League - I've never done it."
Pogba said he was not bothered about the world-record price tag, which Juventus said would be paid over two years and that his return to United, nicknamed the Red Devils, was "destiny" - and predicted by his mother.
"My mom told me I would come back here, and I told her, 'You never know, you'll see'," he said. "For myself as well, it's a big challenge, too. Just to come back to where I came from, where I grew up, where I started. I didn't finish what I started here, so I think I came here to finish it."