It will be quite some time before we see another transfer saga as tiresome as that of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.
The Adidas commercials. The cryptic Instagram posts. Mino Raiola’s constant updates. Everybody was relieved when, in the early hours of August 9, the signing was officially announced.
There was always going to be a commotion surrounding the move, considering it was once talked up as being the first £100 million transfer in football history. United did end up paying a world-record fee to sign the Frenchman but it wasn’t £100m - just the slightly less extortionate £89m.
After Barcelona decided to drop out of the running to sign Pogba, it was a straight shootout between the Red Devils and Real Madrid for his signature.
All signs pointed to Pogba becoming a Galactico. Zinedine Zidane’s team are the champions of Europe, while United aren’t even in the Champions League, and it’s almost a requirement that they make one big splash per summer.
So to see him sign for United, who let him walk four years ago, was rather surprising.
But Jose Mourinho has revealed just how difficult it was for him to persuade the 23-year-old to choose red over white.
"Oh! It was hard to convince him," Mourinho told Goal. "I had many [conversations] on the phone, lots of SMS.
"I think he was getting one in the morning from the manager from another big club and one in the afternoon from myself. I had to try hard to convince him to choose us instead of the other one."
Barcelona dropped out
Mourinho eventually got his man, his task made easier when Barcelona decided to drop out.
The Spanish champions took one look at the price tag Juventus had placed on Pogba and turned away.
“Clearly when you talk about figures that go over €100million, you need to reflect on them,” Barcelona director Ariedo Braida told Canale 21, per the Daily Mail.
“We know Pogba, he is a player who proved to be very strong and, for a while, Barcelona were interested, but clearly the dynamics changed and once the figures reached a certain point, we were no longer interested.”
It’s too premature to label Pogba a flop but United will have expected more on their £89m investment. After three Premier League games, he has failed to register a goal or an assist, and was largely missing in Saturday’s derby defeat to Manchester City.