Paul Pogba to Manchester United proof transfers have gone mad

ROME, ITALY - MAY 21: Paul Pogba of Juventus FC reacts during the TIM Cup match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at Stadio Olimpico on May 21, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 21: Paul Pogba of Juventus FC reacts during the TIM Cup match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at Stadio Olimpico on May 21, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images) /

Paul Pogba is set to join Manchester United on a nine-figure transfer fee. That is completely, utterly insane.

If you’ve lost interest in the Paul Pogba drama this summer, you can easily be forgiven.

From where we stand, 23 days til the window slams shut, the Italian midfielder has been days, hours away from finalising his move to Old Trafford for seemingly the whole summer. And yet, for the time being, a Juventus player he remains. Now the latest news is that Pogba is scheduled for a medical with Manchester United to be completed, presumably, ASAP.

All that’s left now, barring any catastrophic findings, is for the money to change hands and the man of the summer to take the obligatory picture holding his new kit. Curiously absent in this whole spectacle is any discussion of that money, and specifically, whether Pogba—or anybody, for that matter—is really worth it.

Depending on who you believe, Juventus stand to make somewhere between 100 and 120 million pounds from the sale of 24 year old Pogba. Only two other players—Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo—have come anywhere near that.

Those, however, were different circumstances.

Bale spent six years with Tottenham Hotspur, winning Player of the Year Awards left and right from his national football association and the PFA, before being pipped by Real Madrid in 2013. That year, he won the PFA Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year Awards. The only other person to win all three in a single year? Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, saw his record transfer after arguably one of Manchester United’s most successful spells of the past decade. A three-peat in the Premier League, an FA Cup, two League Cups, a Community Shield and a Champions’ League victory mark CR7’s presence at Old Trafford. The man himself won a host of honors during his tenure as a Red Devil, including a Ballon d’Or and a FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Bale and Ronaldo’s transfers, in a way, make sense. Both were and are immensely talented players called into the service of a club with no absence of funds to spend. Their sums,£85.3 million and £80 million respectively, were large but not precedent-setting. Real has owned the record since 2000, and have increased it in sensible intervals for players who have proven themselves worth the money.

Compare this to United and Pogba. United’s previous record transfer was £59.7m for Ángel Di María in 2014. A year later, he was shipped off to PSG, sold at a loss as he failed to pan out. An ordinary team would be chastened by the experience. Manchester United, though, are no ordinary team.

Flush with billions from elite ownership and one of the world’s most recognizable brands, things like fiscal sensibility rarely enter into the minds of the Manchester United board. A 9 figure transfer fee for a 24 year old midfielder with 28 league goals to his name, averaging a goal every 4 games and an assist every 3.5. To anyone else, it would be insanity. To United, it’s chump-change. The price of doing business at the top-top of European football.

Related Story: Is Pogba Worth It?

Nevermind that the resale value on a 9-figure transfer is practically nonexistent, unless your client happens to be Real or Barca.

Nevermind that £120m buys you an entire midtable club, at market value.

Nevermind a roster that involves Fellaini, Schweinsteiger, Mkhitaryan, Carrick and Januzaj. Nevermind finding Pogba a spot in that lineup, all of whom will want playtime in ample amounts.

Nevermind that for the price of one Pogba, you could have 24 of Dele Alli, who put up better numbers last season.

When you’re Manchester United, these sorts of considerations take back-seat. This is a club that has always, and likely will always, play money-ball in the transfer season. Why build when you can buy? Why spend only £5 million when you can spend £100 million?

Maybe, just maybe, in six months’ or a few years’ time I’ll be proven wrong. Maybe Pogba will prove that he’s worth every penny in his homecoming to Old Trafford. But I don’t see this as likely. More likely is that Man United, without realizing it, have just set a precedent that only they and a select few others can attain.

One player that costs more than some entire teams. A player that has largely failed to live up to the standard of the record transfers who came before.

Next: Pogba Fee: Insanity, or Inevitable?

There is no other way to describe the Pogba saga. It is complete and utter insanity.