Crazy Pogba bid puts Mourinho in a position he can't afford to fail
On British sports radio stations, even Manchester United fanatics conceded the obvious point.
Paul Pogba isn't worth £120 million ($214m) or £100m or 100m ($150m) euros. Whatever the final transfer fee proves to be, it's still too much.
United's powerbrokers will inevitably argue that £100m plus is the going rate in a cash-rich, sellers' market, where English Premier League clubs literally have more money than sense.
But it really isn't. Pogba's fee is the going rate for a rattled club and coach who know that time is no longer an ally.
After three years of failure, patience isn't a virtue, but an abstract value that United can no longer indulge in.
So the club's executives, working in tandem with an erratic Jose Mourinho, are spending like there's no tomorrow because if these moves fail, there is no tomorrow.
As United prepare to face Galatasaray in a friendly tomorrow morning (Singapore time), their manager continues with a risky strategy that leaves no room for manoeuvre.
He's throwing all his chips in on the first hand, frantically hoping he holds the right cards.
Honestly, he has no idea if he does. How could he? After the farcical postponement of the Manchester Derby in China, United are two weeks from the start of the season, with just two friendlies played.
The first was a benign stroll with the kids against Wigan, the other was a chastening experience against Borussia Dortmund's second stringers; a stark reminder of the mess that Mourinho inherited.
Even the cliche about friendlies being about fitness rather than results doesn't hold because Mourinho hasn't achieved either.
Just a week from the Community Shield against Leicester City, Mourinho is yet to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney, Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian in a competitive fixture.
After the Chelsea sacking, Mourinho's desire to make amends at any cost is evident and clearly visible in Turin, where Juventus and Pogba powerbrokers are shouting random numbers around like a delirious bingo caller.
But Mourinho may also be betting the farm on one shepherd without having a good look at the sheep first.
Several British newspapers are reporting that nine players are shuffling towards the exit at Old Trafford.
Schweinsteiger appears to be off, along with Tyler Blackett, James Wilson, Will Keane, Andreas Pereira, Paddy McNair, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Adnan Januzaj and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Some are expected to be loan deals. Others probably had no realistic future at United in any case.
But the thought of the Mourinho juggernaut slashing its way through the dressing room with the mechanical coldness of a combine harvester lopping the heads of its wheat crop must be a shock to the system.
Of course, the Portuguese trophy hoarder could still do it again. His resume glows with a silver sheen.
Mourinho always targeted specific square pegs for square holes in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and his short-term strike rate was phenomenal.
And the signings of Ibrahimovic, defender Eric Bailly, and attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan certainly fit the Mourinho mould.
But an air of slight desperation hangs across a muggy Manchester.
The protracted Pogba affair, along with rumours of a mass cull, feels distinctly different.
It's not a typically calculated gamble, but a dangerous one, as if Mourinho has no other alternative so early in the job.
Playing such a high-stakes game, he puts himself in a position where he simply cannot fail two weeks before a Premier League ball has even been kicked.
Pogba on the brink
PHOTO: INTERNET SCREENGRAB
Paul Pogba should be unveiled as a Manchester United player again in the coming days.
According to numerous media outlets, the France international has passed a medical in Los Angeles ahead of his world-record £100 million ($178m) bid move.
The Independent claimed that a further £20m will be paid to agent Mino Raiola.
All issues involving the agent's fee also appear to have now been resolved - Juventus will contribute £4m, while United will cover the remaining £16m.
The Daily Mail reported that Pogba has agreed a five-year contract worth a staggering £290,000 a week and will wear the No. 6 shirt.
United fans had predicted that the 23-year-old, who left United in 2012, would be handed the No. 6 shirt when the squad numbers were announced earlier this month.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes United's world-record bid for Pogba goes against what football is all about.
"If you bring one player in for £100m and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney," Klopp said.
"The day that this is football, I'm not in a job any more because the game is about playing together.
"That is how everybody in football understands it. You always want to have the best, but building the group is necessary to be successful."
Back at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho is believed to be set for a clear-out, with up to nine players reportedly on their way out.
Bastian Schweinsteiger looks set to be axed as the first big-name casualty as the German did not train with United's first-team squad on Thursday and was absent from training footage released by the club.
It's thought the 31-year-old midfielder, who announced his retirement from international football yesterday, has been told he can leave the club 12 months after signing from Bayern Munich in a £6.5m deal.
Defenders Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair are also believed to have no future at Old Trafford.
Midfielders Adnan Januzaj and Andreas Pereira and forwards James Wilson and Will Keane make up the reported nine. - Wire Services.
Jose Mourinho has been great to work under and he’s brought a winning mentality back to the club. Manchester United as a football club we have to win and we have to deliver for him. there’s pressure on the players, but we’re ready and this season we’ll give a real challenge on all fronts... He’s made some great signings who have gelled really well with the squad.
— Wayne Rooney on Jose Mourinho and Man United’s new signings