The longest running transfer saga of the summer has finally come to end as Paul Pogba is finally a Manchester United player. Again.
That move has come at a price, though. A world record one with Manchester United set to part with a barely -fathomably fee of £89m. Not quite the first ever £100m transfer but an eye-watering figure nevertheless, even more so considering that he was allowed to leave the club for spare change by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012.
The big question now is whether or not he can live up to the price tag and the expectation that being the world’s most expensive footballer will bring. You could argue that at just under £100m that no player is ever worth that much but in this day and age when the rich get richer then United have probably paid the market rate.
At 23-years-old, Pogba could realistically be at Old Trafford for a decade, and if that’s to be the case then paying £9m a year to obtain his services doesn’t look quite as bad. But United fans will demand Pogba pays off a huge chunk of that transfer fee right away.
By his own very high standards he didn’t have quite the European Championships that he would have wanted and he will now look to bounce back from the disappointment of losing in the final to Portugal when it really was France’s trophy to lose.
Pogba looked short of energy in the final and never got a grip on the game, his tournament was bookended by an underpar start and finish, only really coming alive in the knockout stages but unfortunately for France he had nothing left in the tank come the evening of the Final.
On the basis of that form alone you would say that Pogba is not worthy of the gag of the world’s most expensive player but his performances for Juventus in Serie A and Europe have been imperious and he has had a long list of admirers after leading the Turin based side to four Serie A titles during his time there.
What will he bring back to Old Trafford, then? He will bring a much needed dynamism to the centre of the park. Since the end of the Sir Alex Ferguson era both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal have tried countless options in that area and nothing has ever really clicked. With Pogba though there is someone that can have a whole team built around him.
Not only that but the arrival of Pogba will mean less game time and possibly even the departure of Marouane Fellaini from the club. His misplaced pass which lead to Leicester’s equaliser in the Community Shield will have no doubt drawn the ire from both manager and players alike and now the Belgian international is going to have his work cut out to get back in the starting lineup.
With the large expenditure on Pogba it does raise the issue of how this will be funded. Thanks to the new TV deal and the fact that United are somewhat of a marketing juggernaut then they have enough cash to sanction bids of this size but you do have to imagine that some of the fee will be recouped through player sales.
Players such as Fellaini, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera will now be nervously looking over their shoulders during the next few weeks until the transfer window closes. Don’t be surprised if two from this trio are not in the red of United come September.
Can Pogba now prove his worth by delivering a first Premier League title at Old Trafford since 2013? We will find out next May.
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