Name: Paul Pogba.
Last Seen: Manchester Airport.
The big question regarding Paul Pogba is simply whether Manchester United have signed one of the best players on the planet for a reasonable fee, or overspent on an overrated player who they released a few short years ago. When the 23-year-old re-signed for Manchester United from Juventus for a world record fee of £93 million, there was always going to be tonnes of pressure on him to perform and justify his price tag.
Although we are only a few games in to his second stint at the club, fans and critics alike have both been wondering whether or not Pogba is worth the money. Alarm bells started ringing for some fans during the recent derby defeat to Manchester City, where he failed to make any sort of impact. The problem is when you arrive as a world record signing, you are expected to perform consistently, scoring goals and creating chances. So far, Paul Pogba has failed to do this. He is yet to score, assist, or have a standout game, so people have started to question his true ability.
However, at only 23 years old, he has at least another decade ahead of him so has plenty of time to readjust to the Premier League and become a key player for Manchester United. If we look at his last few years with Juventus, he has become one of the best midfielders in the world. Renowned specifically for his physical power, strength and influence up and down the pitch, he is exactly what United needed. On his day, £93 million is a bargain, especially with so much of his career ahead of him and the amount of potential he still has to offer. Furthermore, as Jose Mourinho pointed out, inflation in the transfer market is a factor for the fee being so high. Ten years ago, the top clubs were spending £20-£25 million on a top player. Now, Championship clubs, not even those in England’s top tier, are spending that. This is partly because of the added TV rights in English football, specifically for the Premier League. It is costing TV companies billions of pounds as supposed to millions, giving clubs a much larger revenue. This is particularly the case with clubs as globally supported and sponsored as Manchester United. Therefore, £93million may seem like a lot now, but in 10 years, it will be a commonplace transfer. For example, when Ronaldo went to Real Madrid for £80 million, that was huge and a world record at the time, now, people say he is worth way more than that (Ronaldo himself claiming near the billion-pound mark). Judging by the way things are going financially in football, it could be quite a good investment for a player of this quality.
At the end of the day, I feel it is how a player performs as to whether or not a club spent well, or overspent on a player. If Paul Pogba fades away, underperforms and sits on the bench whilst Marouane Fellaini runs the show, then he will be a waste of money. However, if he reignites Manchester United, restores them to the summit of English football and wins lots of trophies for the club, then he is a superb purchase. Having such a hefty price tag will always come with its critics and a huge amount of pressure. Fans may have to wait a few games yet before we can decide if Pogba is a flop or a bargain.
Only time will tell.
Pogba by Numbers (from whoscored.com)
PL appearances: 3
Shots per game: 3.7 (higher than last season at Juventus)
Pass success %: 83.7 (higher than last season at Juventus)
Aerials Won: 2.3 (higher than last season at Juventus)