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English Premier League 2016-17

David Beckham backs Jose Mourinho to recapture Manchester United glory days as Paul Pogba wrangle goes on

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 11:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 10:57pm

Former Manchester United great David Beckham says he is certain the club can go back to challenging for top honours under new manager Jose Mourinho.

Since the retirement in 2013 of Alex Ferguson, who won more than 30 trophies during his 26-year spell in charge, United have landed just one piece of silverware – the FA Cup last season – and sacked two managers.

“I fully expect it to work. With Jose leaving Chelsea and now coming back into the Premier League with United, for me it is a great move,” Beckham told Sky Sports.

“We have had quite a lot of change over the last few years. So now with Jose in there...he knows how to win titles.”

The former Chelsea manager has already begun rebuilding at United, having signed defender Eric Bailly, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and, according to media reports, is keen on adding Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

Beckham is hoping Mourinho will help United regain the fear factor the club had under Ferguson.

“Man United definitely need ... to get back to being feared again,” the former England captain said.

“Because we were always a club – and are still a club – that when teams come to Old Trafford, they know they are going to be up against it and they know they are probably going to lose.”

Mourinho will mark his return to the Premier League when he takes United to Bournemouth for their first game of the season on August 14.

Pogba’s agent, meanwhile, denied on Thursday a potential world record transfer sending the France star to United from Juventus had been finalised.

United have reportedly had a US$113 million offer turned down by the Italian champions as they try to lure France international Pogba back to Old Trafford four years after allowing him to leave on a free transfer.

But Mourinho’s side are expected to return with an improved bid that approaches Juventus’ US$132 million asking price after United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward met Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola to thrash out personal terms this week.

However, Raiola took to Twitter to insist the deal, which would easily shatter the previous world record fee of US$112 million paid by Real Madrid for Gareth Bale in 2013, was not concluded yet.

“There’s no deal done regarding Paul Pogba, lots of bla, bla, bla,” Raiola tweeted on his verified account.

Mourinho, whose side are on a pre-season tour of China, admitted the club needed one more signing before the season starts but would not confirm whether it would be 23-year-old Pogba.

“I don’t confirm and I don’t deny. I cannot tell you,” Mourinho responded, after he was asked directly at a news conference in Shanghai whether he could confirm the reports.

“I don’t think it’s correct to speak about players of other clubs, and he’s a Juventus player and not a Manchester United player.

“The only thing I can tell you is that my board, my directors they did fantastic work to do 75 per cent of the job I asked them to do,” said Mourinho.

“I asked them for four players. To be more accurate I asked them for four or five players I need.

“I gave them a few options and they did for me 75 per cent of the job with Ibrahimovic, Mikitharyan and Bailly and they have just 25 per cent to do until the 31st of August.”