A director of football at Barcelona has revealed that the club pulled out of the race to sign Paul Pogba after Manchester United made it clear they were ready to break the world record to seal his signature.
The France midfielder became the most expensive footballer in history after completing an £89million move to Old Trafford earlier this week. He is also believed to have signed a contract worth an incredible £290,000-a-week.
It brought an end to a long saga that involved both Barcelona and Real Madrid. They were reportedly interested in signing Pogba from Juventus but neither could come close to matching the financial package United were offering.
While Real Madrid have stayed quiet throughout, their La Liga rivals are apparently happy to explain why they were not willing to break a world record for Pogba.
Ariedo Braida, who acts as a special advisor on transfers at Camp Nou, believes no one is worth the kind of money United paid for Pogba and even suggested the 23-year-old could struggle with the weight of expectation.
Braida told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Barcelona pulled out of the race to sign Pogba for economic reasons.
"There is no discussion about his qualities and I think he will assert himself at Manchester United, but there will be criticism each time he is not at his best. People will see the transfer fee and expect him to win games on his own and this is simply not possible.
"You never know how a player will react to being overpriced like that. Maybe it will not even influence him, but the pressure must be enormous."
In an interesting interview, Braida said that he is starting to find the figures being spent in the transfer market upsetting and is worried fees are growing more and more detached from normal life.
He said: "Some figures are upsetting. No one is worth that kind of money. When you get to a certain level, we are getting too detached from normal life. We are talking about an operation of €150million if we include wages."
As soon as Pogba was confirmed as a Manchester United player, bookies reduced their odds to win the Premier League title, installing them as favourites. Despite finishing fifth in an uninspiring campaign last time around, there is clearly a sense that the squad has improved enough to beat the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea.
However, three of their signings arrive with no experience in the Premier League while Pogba played just three games in English football before leaving for Serie A. They will all need to time to adapt, leaving Jose Mourinho with essentially the same squad that failed to qualify for Champions League football just three months ago.
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