Manchester United have forked out a world-record fee to bring Paul Pogba home from his “holiday” at Juventus, with the midfielder pledging to win the trophies hankered for at Old Trafford.
Months of speculation, negotiations and deliberation bore fruit in the early hours of Tuesday morning as the open secret of the 23-year-old’s United return was made official.
Four years on from departing Old Trafford without making a first-team start, Pogba signed a five-year contract with the option of a sixth season after United agreed to pay an eye-watering 105million euros (£89million).
Juventus revealed the deal could increase by a further five million euros (£4.25million) depending on targets being met – something that looks likely given by the Frenchman’s comments in his first interview since the deal’s completion.
“The thing with me is I only think about the pitch,” a smiling Pogba told MUTV. “I want to do great, I want to be one of the best.
“I want to win titles, I want to achieve things and that’s all – that’s why I came here, just to do this, to become one of the best and to win titles because I know this club has to win titles.
“This club is created to win titles, to win things, to win big things. That’s why. I am focused about this and that’s it. I’m just ready to go and work on that and just kill it.”
Pogba has certainly done that during his time in Serie A, playing a key role as Juventus won the title in each of his four seasons at the club.
Upon leaving the Frenchman took to social media to thank all those involved with the Bianconeri, who confirmed the deal generates them 72.6million euros (£61.9million) “net of solidarity subsidy and auxiliary expenses”.
It appears a wrench to leave Turin but Pogba’s delight at returning to a club where he has unfinished business was palpable.
“There’s no words, to be honest, there’s no words,” he said. “I just came back to Carrington.
“It was like I’d just came back home. I just went for a holiday, looks like I went for a holiday.
“I’ve come back home, I’m happy and I see everyone, the same persons. It’s just a great feeling, to be honest.”
Pogba won the FA Youth Cup during his first spell at a club he returns to as an adult, having developed physically and mentally.
Now the France international boasts experience that comes with playing at the top level and winning major trophies, which he wants to continue at a club he always had in his heart.
“I think it’s destiny, I would say it’s destiny,” Pogba said. “First my mum told me I would come back here and I told her, ‘You never know, we’ll see’.
“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 just didn’t finish what I started here so I think I came here to finish it.”
Having been part of the France squad that fell at the final hurdle of a European Championship they hosted and the subject of so much speculation, he says ending the summer by returning to United feels “really crazy”.
It is also marks the find piece of the jigsaw laid out by Jose Mourinho after his appointment as United boss, with Pogba following the acquisitions of centre-back Eric Bailly, the creative Henrikh Mkhitaryan and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future,” the Portuguese said.
“He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is. At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years.
“He is young and will continue to improve – he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”