The start of the Premier League season always brings excitement, especially this year with so many teams looking strong and at least 5 looking capable of mounting a sustained challenge for Leicester City’s crown. The reigning champions have so far only lost N’Golo Kante from last season’s squad, whilst Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are likely to be lurking around the top of the table at the business end of the season. Manchester City have brought in Pep Guardiola, whilst Chelsea have enlisted the services of Antonio Conte in order to increase their chances of title glory, and you’d expect both to improve on last season’s underwhelming league finishes.
And then there’s Manchester United. Bringing in Jose Mourinho for Louis van Gaal has seemingly catapulted the club back into the stratosphere even before the club have played a game. Signing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the best players in France’s Ligue 1 and Germany’s Bundesliga respectively have certainly helped in that regard, but the biggest statement of this summer arguably came with the £89m capture of Juventus’ Paul Pogba, who signed a deal to bring him back to the club that he left in less-than friendly circumstances in 2012.
Once the deal was confirmed in the early hours of Tuesday morning, attention suddenly turned to United’s first game of this league season against Bournemouth on Sunday. How involved would Pogba at Dean Court? Well, the FA nixed any possibility of the Frenchman taking part when they revealed the following on Friday:
With the #PLkickoff this weekend, did you know four players are serving suspensions?
— The FA (@FA) August 12, 2016
It was something of a long shot that Pogba would be involved, anyway, having only just returned to training with United this week after an extended summer break. Mourinho offered an update on Pogba’s process in his press conference this Friday, according to the Manchester Evening News:
Jose on Pogba: “By Tuesday he will be ready to play against Southampton.”
So, there we have it. Only six days to wait for the most expensive football player of all time to pull on the red shirt for the first time since 2012. It’s a tremendously exciting thought to consider, Pogba returns to the place he affectionately calls ‘home’, and makes his first appearance back at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s only decision on Friday will be whether or not Pogba is ready to start, which may depend on how successful United are on Sunday on the south coast, but whether he comes on as a substitute or starts from the beginning, there’s no denying the excitement brewing ahead of United’s first home game of this season.