Pogba left United as a teenager four years ago, having grown frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities he was being afforded by then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Frenchman’s contract expired and he moved to Juventus on a free transfer (although the Bianconeri had to pay a compensation fee of around £800,000 to United). Thrown straight into the fray, Pogba became a vital player for Juve, and has won four successive Serie A titles during his time in Turin, as well as helping his side reach the 2015 Champions League final.
It is thought that United have always held an interest in bringing Pogba back to Old Trafford, but only with the arrival of José Mourinho as manager, and the Portuguese coach’s insistence on pursuing the 23-year-old, has the prospect of a return seemed realistic.
By all accounts, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has sanctioned a bid of £100 million for the talented midfielder, in what would be a world record-breaking move if completed.
Yet, despite the potential arrival of a genuine world star, some United fans object to the move, citing various reasons as to why signing Pogba is a bad idea.
So, let’s examine the most common theories which stand in opposition to the Pogba bid, and see if we can debunk them.
He’s not worth £100 million...
This is certainly the most common objection, and one posited most frequently by fans of rival teams. And it’s easy to see why: for the vast majority of us, £100 million is the kind of sum that we will never come close to earning in our lifetime. And, indeed, no football club has ever spent that much money on one player before.
So by forking out that much for Pogba, are we to believe that he is more worthy of such a figure than any player in the game’s history? Of course not.
The notion of value, and what a player is worth, is entirely circumstantial. It’s easy to say that a player is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for him, but there is a degree of truth to that.
Pogba might not be worth £100 million to Real Madrid, who are champions of Europe and already have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in their squad.
But United are a long way from being crowned European champions again — we’re not even in the Champions League next season. So our need for a world class star to bolster our squad is far greater than that of Madrid.
And Madrid already have some of the most marketable names in world football amid their ranks; our biggest star is still a fading 30-year-old Wayne Rooney. Signing Pogba would offer a huge boon to the club’s future commercial prospects, which, like it or not, is a major factor in the modern game.
Plus, with the club set to report record breaking revenue of over £500 million next year, the price tag, as outrageous as it is, is eminently affordable to United.
And let’s face it, as fans, this is not our money. If we don’t spend huge amounts of money on players like Pogba, the savings are not going to be passed on to us in the form of reduced ticket prices or discounted merchandise.
All the money that the club is generating is better spent on squad improvements, rather than being stuffed into the pockets of wealthy owners and executives.
We should spend that money on three quality players, rather than blowing it on one...
It has been argued that the £100 million transfer fee the club is supposedly prepared to spend on Pogba, would be better spent on two or three top-quality players, rather than just one.
For example, £100 million could probably get you N’Golo Kanté and James Rodríguez, and still leave change for another defender.
But just because the money has been made available to try and sign Pogba, does not mean the same amount would be there for anyone else.
Ed Woodward and the owners will have drawn up a budget for the Pogba move, taking into account things like the player’s current level of ability, potential for future improvement, age, marketability and re-sale value.
If you crunch the numbers on those parameters, coming up with a budget of £100 million for Pogba, does not mean the same would be true of player x, y and z combined. So the simple equation of subtracting the money from a Pogba bid, and dividing it between squad improvements elsewhere, does not add up at all.
He’s not that good...
Paul Pogba certainly still has his doubters — even more so after his perfomance for France in their Euro 2016 final defeat against Portugal.
But it would be extremely harsh to judge him on that performance alone, as he was grossly misused by Les Bleus’ boss Didier Deschamps; Pogba was asked to play as France’s holding midfielder, which meant his influence was shackled by additional defensive responsibility.
Anyone who has watched Juventus regularly over the last few years will know exactly what Pogba is able to do. When operating with greater freedom in a box-to-box role, the Frenchman is capable of adding the kind of physicality and drive in midfield which has been absent at Old Trafford for some time. He is also incredibly skillful, with the ability to produce defence splitting passes from almost anywhere within the opponents’ half.
Though it is true that there are times when his influence on a game seems to vanish for long spells, at 23, Pogba still has his best years ahead of him, with plenty of time to find the consistency which marks out the very best players in the world.
It’d be embarrassing for the club to spend all that money on a player they once allowed to leave for free...
You would be hard-pushed to find a single person who would not agree that United made a monumental mistake in allowing Pogba to leave the club in 2012.
In the years since his departure, Pogba has shown himself to be everything that the United midfield has lacked.
And we still lack those qualities. Regardless of whether he’s played here before, and irrespective of the circumstances surrounding his departure, he is the best player United could realistically sign right now.
The club must approach the situation as though Pogba had never stepped foot in Manchester before. You cannot let your future be coloured by your past; it was a mistake to let Pogba go, and it’d be an even greater mistake if we do not re-sign him while we have the chance.