The transfer window so far has been dominated by one person and that is Paul Pogba. Jose Mourinho was appointed as the new Manchester United boss and the Portuguese made it pretty clear that Paul Pogba was the player he wants to bring back to Old Trafford. Recently, it was reported that the negotiators of the Manchester Club has finally been able to agree to a fee and it is €120m. That could rise further if the Italians play hardball with the transfer. The fee smashes the previous transfer record which was made when Gareth Bale of Tottenham moved to Real Madrid for €100m in 2013.
Pogba, an ex-Manchester United player left Old Trafford when he realized that he was having much difficulty in playing regularly when he made only 7 appearances in two years. He refused to sign a new contract offered by United which angered Alex Ferguson, who was the manager at that time. The Frenchman left England and joined Juventus ultimately and went on to make 27 league appearances in his first season at the Turin club much to his delight, scoring 5 goals and winning the Seria A title in the process. Pogba has never looked back since then and established him as one of the most important players for the Old Lady in the midfield.
Since his departure, Manchester United has won the league once and has not gone beyond the quarter-final stage in the Champions League while Pogba won 4 titles in a row with Juventus and reached the final of the Champions League in 2015. There has been no question about the quality of his performances during his four years at Italy but when the price for the player reaches such astronomical level it will always be categorized as a risk. United have paid big money for players like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao. Two players who were established and proven world class performers in their club careers couldn’t succeed at Old Trafford and failed to adapt to the Premier League. Thus, even spending money on established players and proven performers doesn’t guarantee success or the transfer being worth the valuation set by the negotiating parties. Paying over a 100 million is always a risk no matter who the player is.
To be absolutely fair, Pogba at 23, isn’t the finished article just yet. The Frenchman is strong and tall. He can tackle, run, dribble, pass and shoot efficiently and having already spent time in England, it wouldn’t be a problem adjusting to the change in climate and environment. However, in his previous stint, he was hugely untested and made only seven appearances in two years and was an unknown commodity. This time, he is coming to England as the most expensive player in the world who can rescue the team out of every difficult situation. The pressure would be massive, to say the least. The Euro 2016 showed us that the player can drift in and out of games and struggle to fit into the coach’s system. In fact, it is still not fully clear in which system the team would be able to get the best out of the player.
The Frenchman’s biggest weakness is his ability to take too much time on the ball and it would be very interesting to see how the opponents try to exploit this weakness or how the player copes with the intense high tempo pressing without squandering possession often. Mourinho can turn Pogba into a more efficient midfielder but even if he performs well would he ever justify his €120m transfer fee? If we consider that far more average names have seen demanding insane amount of money by their standards then maybe yes, but if we think in terms of pure economics and reality distancing our minds from the madness that’s going on with the Agents skyrocketing their clients values making insane demands then the answer would not be that easy.