Football

Ferguson sold both Pique and Pogba.

Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest mistake: Gerard Pique or Paul Pogba?

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Having won 38 trophies during his 26 years at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t make too many mistakes.

The Scot established himself as one of the best managers in history during his time at Old Trafford, having lifted 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies.

Despite a trophy-laden career, Ferguson received criticism for some of his man-management skills. The legendary boss had multiple high-profile falling-outs with the likes of David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane.

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Basically, there was no player bigger than Manchester United and Ferguson wasn’t scared to get rid of any player that crossed his path. Beckham, Van Nistelrooy and Keane had already offered so much to the club before Ferguson decided to sell them, so his decision wasn’t widely criticised by United fans.

However, there were two players that Ferguson may have got rid of prematurely. There’s no doubt that he made a huge error in allowing both Gerard Pique and Paul Pogba to leave the Theatre of Dreams before they realised their true potential. But which one was Ferguson’s biggest mistake? We take a look.

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Gerard Pique

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga

The Spanish defender joined the Red Devils in 2004 on a free transfer from Barcelona. However, with the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic forming a formidable partnership at the heart of the defence, Pique only played 12 times in the Premier League in his four seasons at the club before re-signing for Barcelona in 2008.

Have they missed him?

Vidic and Ferdinand continued to play until 2014, Pique may well have continued to struggle to play regular first-team football. However, since then, the club have lacked two quality centre-backs and are crying out for a player of Pique’s quality. With Pique and Smalling at the back and David de Gea behind them, they would have kept plenty of clean sheets during the last two seasons.

How costly was the mistake?

Pique left United for Barcelona in 2008 for just £5million. Nowadays, there’s no doubt he would be worth at least £40million.

UEFA Champions League Group F: Manchester United v Dynamo Kyiv

How has he fared after leaving United?

Pique has played 356 times for Barcelona since rejoining them in 2008 and has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in world football. He’s won a few trophies too - six La Ligas, four Copa del Reys and three Champions Leagues.

What was Ferguson’s role in allowing him to leave?

While it would have been difficult to prevent Pique from returning to his boyhood club, surely more could have been done to keep him. Giving him more first-team football could have persuaded him to stay and accepting a bid of £5million was very surprising.

Paul Pogba

Juventus FC v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

Ferguson risked FIFA investigation to lure Pogba from La Havre in 2009 and he helped win the FA Youth Cup the following season. The future was very bright for the Frenchman. However, he struggled to break into the first-team, making just three Premier League appearances before leaving for Juventus in 2012 at the end of his contract.

Have they missed him?

When Pogba left, United fans probably thought ‘so what? We’ve got Paul Scholes.’ But ever since the United legend retired - for good - in 2013, the side have been severely lacking a powerful midfielder. They’ve been desperate for Pogba for the previous three seasons.

How costly was the mistake?

Very. Pogba left at the end of his contract with United receiving just £800,000 in compensation. Four years on, and they’ve smashed the world transfer record with a deal worth around £89million. So yes, very costly.

How has he fared after leaving United?

Four league titles with Juventus and becoming one of the best young midfielders in the world. Yeah, pretty well.

AC Milan v Juventus FC - TIM Cup Final

What was Ferguson’s role in allowing him to leave?

Ferguson not only played a role in allowing Pogba to leave, he was the main reason he left. The Scot rarely gave him first-team football leaving Pogba with no alternative but to leave at the end of this deal. He had this to say regarding his departure from the club:

"I didn't want to sign a contract as Ferguson didn't play me, even though there were no midfielders there.

"He obviously thought I didn't deserve the contract I asked for, and didn't put me in the team even though he had no midfield players. It was his choice.”

Conclusion

While selling both Pique and Pogba were clearly mistakes, there’s a very obvious winner here.

Pique may be one of the best defenders in world football, but Ferguson was always going to have a tough fight on his hands to prevent him returning to Barcelona when they came calling. Having said that, he could have done more to play him when he was younger to convince him to remain at the Theatre of Dreams.

Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

However, where Pogba is concerned, his departure was all down to Ferguson. It’s a mistake that has cost the club almost £90m and, if they had kept hold of him, they would have surely have performed better in their previous three campaigns.

He didn't make many, but allowing Pogba to leave United was Ferguson's biggest mistake as manager.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Gerard Pique
Football
Premier League
Alex Ferguson
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Barcelona
Juventus
Ryan Giggs

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