So, the longest and most drawn-out transfer of the summer has finally been completed; Manchester United have completed a deal worth around £89m with Juventus to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford, where he left four years ago.
Whilst Pogba’s quality is undoubted, having helped Juventus to the Serie A title in each of his seasons with the club, the whole transfer saga has felt as though Manchester United are overspending to get their man. The fact that Pogba is the type of midfielder needed to improve the current United squad goes without saying; however, the length of time the transfer has taken to complete furthers the suggestion that Juventus have used this knowledge to gain as much money from Manchester United as possible.
Indeed, this feeling is furthered when looking at other deals completed by Premier League clubs for players of a similar style to Pogba. Arsenal completed the signing of Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka at the start of the summer for around £34m from Borussia Mönchengladbach; at almost three times less than Pogba’s transfer fee, this furthers the feeling than United have paid over the odds to get their man.
Furthermore, Chelsea signed Leicester City midfielder and Premier League champion N’golo Kante for a similar fee, around £32m. Again, this transfer fee for a combative midfielder, at a third of the cost of Pogba, indicates the overspending by United.
Indeed, Manchester City’s signing of Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund for what now appears a paltry £21m furthers this feeling.
There is no question of Paul Pogba’s quality, or of how he will benefit Manchester United. Indeed, he could be the missing piece of the jigsaw that is now in place to see Jose Mourinho return the Premier League title to Old Trafford. There is a question, however, as to whether the world record transfer fee spent to complete the deal is justifiable, especially given the fact that the deals for Xhaka, Kante and Gundogan, mentioned earlier, equate to a similar price. It’s a serious statement of intent from Mourinho and Manchester United, but it’s also a very expensive one.