Manchester United may have broken a world record by signing Paul Pogba from Juventus for a reported £89million but that transfer fee is not nearly as absurd as it may appear.
Arsene Wenger called it "crazy" while Jurgen Klopp suggested he would never pay such a figure for a single player but Manchester United have, it seems, completed at least two more transfers of equal insanity in the past.
No, we are not talking about the £7.4m that Sir Alex Ferguson spent on the unknown Portuguese starlet Bebe in 2010, neither are nor the £16m the same manager spent on a perennially injured Owen Hargreaves.
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In fact, we are talking about Juan Sebastien Veron, a man widely considered to be one of the least successful transfers in Premier League history. Manchester United forked out a British record £28.1m to sign the Argentine from Lazio in 2001.
That figure would barely buy you a week with Pogba these days but back then it was a significant outlay for the Red Devils, even more so than the record-breaking Frenchman.
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If you cast your eyes to Manchester United's historical turnovers, you will see that the 2000/01 financial year saw the Premier League club generate £129m. That means Veron cost a rather incredible 21.7 percent of their total income.
These days Manchester United are predicted to be earning £510m-per-annum in the near future. Even if, as was previously reported, Pogba cost £100m, that would still represent just 19.6 percent of their turnover. Thus it is proved that Veron was indeed the bigger financial risk.
Thanks to some number cruncher on Twitter, you can now enjoy a whole list of how big signings have compared to Manchester United's turnover.
You will notice that Rio Ferdinand, who joined from Leeds United a year after Veron for £30m, pushes Pogba down to third on the list. That certainly strengthens the former centre-back's claim that he would be worth £80m in today's market.
He recently said: "I reckon [I'd be worth] £70-80 million. I would have been a bargain in today’s market. With some of the players going for over £50 million, I’m thinking I’d be touching double that."
Veron was certainly evidence that money does not guarantee world-class players. Despite spending the huge amount, Veron struggled for consistency at Old Trafford and eventually left for Chelsea.
Then recently taken over by Roman Abramovich, the Blues managed to seal Veron's signature for £14m, just half of what Manchester United spent.
Veron’s last appearance for United was as a substitute against Charlton in their penultimate league game of the 2002/2003 season after losing his starting place to, wait for it, Nicky Butt.
So will we see Pogba lose his place to, say, Marouane Fellaini? We doubt it but there's always a chance.
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