Written by: Juan Contla
Every team in any professional sport has their star player or marquee signing that will get fans excited, but how much is too much for a player? In 2013 Paul Pogba left Manchester United after seeing a lack in playing time, then manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, allowed the player to leave to Juventus for close to nothing and became one of the world’s best central midfielders, winning 4 Serie As, 2 Coppa Italias, and making a Champions League final appearance at the age of 22.
Being talked about as a future Ballon d’Or winner, there was no lack in speculation that the player would seek greener pastures. Real Madrid and Barcelona were looked as the clear favorites, but just this past week Pogba revealed that after 4 years he will return to United as the most expensive player ever.
After three lackluster seasons since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, United have been in a state of no identity that has seen the fear that the club once produced now disappear. New manager Jose Mourinho has come in and is expected to revitalize this squad with new ambitions and players, bringing in Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ to eliminate that feeling of broken and defeated.
The world is looking at this transfer saga as United having this player that could’ve developed well at the club, but was let go. Now they’re the ones having to beg this player back with a truck load of cash. However, that’s not the case with Pogba who in his first interview back at the club stated, “I want to finish what I started here.” Going further saying that Manchester was a special place for him and describing his time away as being on holiday. The player clearly wanted this move, but club fees and negotiations and the fact that Pogba can further improve is what jacked up the price.
Players today are rated by their current performances followed by their age and potential. Most players at a young age, who impress, go on to demand high transfer fees because of the product that could come in years to come. Clubs pay these astronomical fees not because that’s what the player is worth at the moment, but what he will be worth in the years to come.
Pogba, didn’t just have one good season, he’s been showing he’s a talent since for the past 4 seasons with Juventus. In a world where clubs actively seek a midfielder who can be the engine and drag a team to success, Pogba is a genuine sign that he can be that type of player for United.
In European football, the transfer market has exploded, more notably in England; in regards to putting a price on a player. A player can have an exciting season where the stats are where everyone wants to be and their transfer price instantly shoots to £20 to £35 million, whereas just 12 months prior the price could’ve been one fifth of that.
An example to follow is Premier League champions Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, who back in January 2014 moved to there from France’s Ligue 2 side Le Havre for €500 thousand, virtually nothing in today’s market. Fast forward to now, after his 11 goals and 7 assists season with countless key passes, he is now the subject of a £30 million transfer away from Leicester.
If owners have the resources and the needs to finance such a massive purchase then there shouldn’t be so much debate in whether a player is “worth” X amount. Manchester United are one of the 5 sports franchises in the world so £89 million is almost nothing when you take into account the amount of money that is generated the club generates. If that’s what they have to do to get what they want then that’s what they’ll do in order to not only please themselves, but the supporters too.
United want to be the best once again, so in order to do that they are going to bring the best no matter the cost, they’ve understood mistake made back in 2013 and have come to terms with that and are literally paying for it in order to obtain a player that knows the club, expectations, and is a prospect for even greater things in the future. This record might not even hold for long as another player can rise to the ranks and grab the world’s attention and demand a higher fee. Football is turning into a business and clubs want to and will do everything they can to make sure they don’t go under.