Paul Pogba appears to be closing in on a move to Manchester United after a world-record fee of €110million was agreed with his club Juventus.
It marks a significant moment in the 23-year-old's already spectacular career. He left Old Trafford in 2012 to join the Italian outfit, going on to win four consecutive Scudetto titles before making his mark in the 2015 FifPro World XI.
For Manchester United, it is the realisation of a dream Ed Woodward has held for three years. Since taking over from David Gill, the executive vice-chairman has tried to break the world transfer record, only to be rejected time and again.
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Agreeing a deal with Pogba is impressive because of the other clubs interested in his services. The Red Devils were supposedly competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona, both of whom have since pulled out of the race.
While we wait for confirmation from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez as to why he did not launch an offer of his own, one Barcelona source has kindly offered up an explanation as to why the Nou Camp outfit were not involved in the race.
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Their international advisor Ariedo Braida has blamed the huge money currently flooding into the Premier League for their inability to compete, even though Barcelona enjoyed a turnover of €560.8m in the last financial year, bigger than any English club and only behind Real Madrid.
"Clearly when you talk about figures that go over €100million, you need to reflect on them," Braida told Canale 21, per Goal.
"It all comes down to the TV rights that brought in a lot of money and completely changed the logic of the transfer market. Clearly all players are overrated to some degree or another at this stage.
"We know Pogba, he is a player who proved to be very strong and, for a while, Barcelona were interested, but the dynamics changed and once the figures reached a certain point, we were no longer interested.
"It's hard to keep up at some stage because you don't only have to consider the price of the transfer fee, but also the player's salary. Over the course of five years, that can amount to tens of millions."
Barcelona find themselves in a tricky financial situation after their gamble with shirt sponsorship spectacularly backfired. Qatar Airways had offered them €70m-a-season last year but president Josep Maria Bartomeu believed he could get more.
Qatar Airways withdrew their interest in January and Bartomeu went touting for other offers. But despite Barcelona's stature, no company was willing to pay that much to be on that famous red and blue shirt. They released their new kit without a sponsor in June, leaving it less valuable to any bidder.
In the end, they accepted a one-year extension with Qatar Airways for €35m, most of which will be used to pay for Leo Messi and Neymar's contract extensions. Basically, they have no money for transfers, let alone enough to break the world record.
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