Barcelona: Barcelona will wait until next summer to launch a full-on bid to lure Paul Pogba away from Manchester United.
The Spanish giants have accepted that United will not sell the World Cup winner before the summer transfer window closes on August 31 but are still interested in the £89million star, who has three years left on his £290,000-a-week contract.
Barcelona tested the waters earlier in the month but their offer of £50m plus two players was rejected out of hand.
United are unlikely to entertain a January bid for the 25-year-old, meaning that Barcelona will wait until the end of the season.
Pogba plunged his future into doubt after last Friday night’s win over Leicester by hinting all is not well between himself and Jose Mourinho.
But Mourinho has since moved to quash speculation of a rift with the player, who remains United’s most expensive signing ever.
“The truth is we are together for two years and a couple of weeks and I’ve never been so happy with [Pogba] as I am now, that’s the truth,” said Mourinho.
“I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him, he came here on a Monday, trained three days, I asked for his support for his contribution in an important match for us when the team had difficulties.
“He did it better and for more time than we could expect, when he says he did it for the fans and for the team is exactly what I want, is exactly what I demand from my players
“He’s working well, playing well, he does for the fans, he does for the team and that’s what I want, to play for the team and I couldn’t be happier than what I am.”
Former United midfielder Paul Ince believes the onus is on Pogba to mend his relationship with Mourinho.
“Well first and foremost I think [Pogba is] a talented player,” said Ince.
“We’ve seen all the problems start at the end of last season but I thought they’d been put to bed.
“He’s come back, won the World Cup, played fantastically.
“And Mourinho has said ‘[Antonio] Valencia is out, you’re going to be my captain.’
“That shows he got a lot of respect for Pogba.
“He plays against Leicester, he’s outstanding, man of the match for me.
“After the game, he’s decided to have that comment at the end of it which brought it all again.
“He just needs to play his football, let his football do the talking.
“This row has been going on for a season now.
“We should be talking about where Manchester United are going to go this year, not about Pogba, Mourinho, Pogba, Mourinho.
“Let bygones be bygones and grow up.”
Pogba is in line to captain United once again when Mourinho’s men face Brighton on Sunday.
“For the next match, yes,” said Mourinho, when asked if Pogba would skipper United at the Amex Stadium.
“For the next match Paul will be captain it will stay with Antonio Valencia.
“Last season I made Paul captain against Basel we thought he’s a young guy but a good personality, he was made in academy, normally a starting line-up player, so he has conditions to be captain in the future.
“But when Antonio comes back he will be the captain.”