Paul Pogba’s transfer saga is, thankfully, nearing an end.
An announcement confirming he is a Manchester United player is imminent, but even United fans, excited at the return of the French midfielder, have grown tiresome of this long-winded palaver.
You can’t say the build up has been over nothing, though. Pogba, 23, will become Jose Mourinho’s fourth signing and the most expensive player in history when his move from Juventus is complete.
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One question that has been raised surrounding the transfer that isn’t about the price tag or Mourinho’s sanity is just why Pogba would sign for United, of all clubs.
He’s coming off the back of a fourth straight Serie A title with Juventus, who showed their intent to win the Champions League by spending £75.3 million on Gonzalo Higuain.
United, on the other hand, haven’t finished higher than fourth in their previous three seasons and have just appointed their third manager since 2013. The Red Devils, unlike the Old Lady, are pretty unstable at the moment.
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Real Madrid were also interested in signing the France international but reportedly backed out when learning of Mino Raiola’s demands. Pogba’s agent is demanding a cut of at least £20m from the deal.
What United told Pogba
But spending money is what Madrid do. There must have been another reason why Pogba decided United, a club without any form of European football this season, was the best club for him.
Freelance journalist Andy Mitten has shed some light on just how United managed to convince Pogba to snub Madrid.
If true, then United chiefs just might be in for a pay rise.
Writing for ESPN FC, Mitten claims United told Pogba that he would be the third or fourth-ranked player at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano is #1 at Real Madrid
Very clever from the Red Devils, who certainly weren’t lying.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the top dog in the Spanish capital. Everybody knows that. Behind him is the player whose transfer record Pogba is set to break, Gareth Bale.
The wingers are one and two in Madrid’s well-established hierarchy but there is no shortage of players who will stake a claim to be just behind them, including Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema.
Pogba would slip in at number three. When the Juve man realised this, he knew his destination was England.
Pogba will be United's king
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may think he is the God of Manchester, while Wayne Rooney is already a United legend, but there’s no doubting that the throne will be Pogba’s when he joins.
Everything will go through him, both on and off the field. Mourinho will build his team around the midfielder and he’ll be involved in all of United’s commercial activities, raising his profile as a result.
Pogba wanted to join a club where the spotlight would shine on him. Really, there was no other choice.