Paul Pogba has completed a transfer record breaking deal to Manchester United, who let the player leave on a free transfer just 4 years ago. Sounds ridiculous right? Well I want to go into the details of this transfer, and see if it really is the right deal for Man Utd to make. The simplest answer is; no, he’s not worth £85m. There are pros and cons though to both sides. Let’s explore them.
– You’ve got to pay money for quality. Unfortunately that’s always been true of football. It’s an industry with big money and ridiculous funds and wages, the best players will cost top dollar. Paul Pogba is considered a player who can do something out of nothing, and the very few in the world have that ability. His time at Juve has seen some incredible goals hit the back of the net, and some amazing dynamic displays and skill and drive mirroring that of a once hailed Patrick Vieira.
– Central midfield has always been a questionable position for Manchester United. Ferguson somehow won titles with what most would consider ‘mediocre’ players. Moyes and Van Gaal have tried to plug that hole, with Fellaini, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Schweinsteiger and they’ve even chucked Rooney in that role. Pogba can be that consistent player to fill that role and do it for many years.
– If it wins you the Premier League, what price can you put on that? Pogba could cost £200m but if it brings in titles then it’s money well spent: that’s what we judge football clubs on these days anyway.
– Surprisingly enough, the deal may make sense financially. The money that Man Utd bring in through shirt sales, ticket sales, and promotion ads of these players mean that United will make quite a lot of their money back. Some argue that Pogba, still only 23, can be sold on in later years at a similar price to a Real Madrid or Barcelona if he can continue to perform.
– Man Utd don’t need to strengthen desperately in any other areas, so the fee may be worth it if it gets the best option in the position they need.
– The deal shows that English clubs can compete in the market with the big Spanish clubs again.
– £85m in the past has bought Real Madrid a 40-goal-a season forward in Cristiano Ronaldo, and probably the worlds best winger in Gareth Bale, who also contributes upwards of 20 goals a season. Is Pogba in that league? He’s not a goal scorer, so he’ll need to be judged on different qualities, which makes it a lot harder to justify the 85m price tag.
– It could be argued that the £85m spent on Pogba could have been spread out strengthening different areas. Arsenal brought in Xhaka for £30m, the same price Chelsea paid for Kante. There’s no real evidence based on the Euro’s that Pogba is 3x the player they both are, but his past seasons suggest he’s a more accomplished option.
– It sets a bad tone for future deals as clubs are more aware of what Man Utd are willing to pay for quality players. Inflation in this market could continue to rise at an alarming rate.
– Bringing in Pogba could cause issues for players already hoping to press for a starting place. Herrera and Schneiderlin will essentially be fighting for one place alongside the new record signing, whilst Carrick will be hoping for game time as well. Schweinsteiger, who only joined last summer, has already been banished to the reserves as Mourinho forces him to find a new club. Problems seem to be caused already. How do you keep such a big squad happy?
There’s pro’s and con’s. My big question is: how long term is this deal for Paul Pogba personally? He knows he can leave Manchester and find a big Spanish club in the future, and I worry this may just be a stepping stone. In that case, they’ll make their money back and everyone will be happy. But if this deal is anything like the Di Maria deal, then Man Utd may get a demotivated Paul Pogba who doesn’t truly want to be there. I don’t believe that will be the case. He’s calls Manchester his ‘home’, which fans will be delighted to hear.
The deal is done, we won’t have long to wait to find out.