After months of ridiculous speculation, Paul Pogba finally ended up a Manchester United player. Negotiations were believed to have gone through between Juventus, Mino Raiola and the likes of Real Madrid, Adidas and many more, but, as Raiola claimed last week, Pogba wanted to be a Manchester United player again, as he became. That, however, is not the opinion of Albert Soler, Barcelona’s director of sporting relations, who claims Barcelona was Pogba’s first choice.
Soler stated that Barcelona agreed to have the first negotiation with Pogba as early as a year before his move to Manchester United. Then, he went as far to state that Barcelona later pursued better options than the Frenchman, repurchasing Denis Suarez and adding Andre Gomes to their ranks for quite the fee.
“Last year we reached a deal with Juventus for us to have a priority option when they sold Pogba. This summer we decided that there were players that suited us better on a sporting level. The idea of the board was that nobody would be able to get ahead of us in the market. It allowed us to have options.”
To break down these statements from Barcelona, there are three main categories from which they can be debated. It is impossible to debate to a conclusion as to whether or not these statements from Soler are true- they probably are, barring agent and player negotiations, but there is no way of confirming that. It is highly debatable that Pogba is a better footballer than the likes of Gomes and Suarez, both of whom will struggle for playing time and development at the Camp Nou. It is a fact that Barcelona has a massive wage bill and is struggling to keep the front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar together.
For Soler to state that other players suited Barcelona better “on a sporting level” is a very vague claim that can be interpreted in many ways. The latter of those three debates, the definite, could prove to be better for Barcelona on a sporting level. For him to sound creative and state that it allowed them to have options is nonsense. The highest odds are that they couldn’t afford Pogba and, therefore, turned to other players.
For Barcelona to act convenient and astute in the transfer market is quintessential elitist falseness. They broke a million laws to sign Neymar, and, subsequently, dodged the consequences by signing players, allowing them to train at the club and not registering them in the system. When Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan were needed for depth, they were in the squad, ready to use. The reality is, they expressed interest in Pogba a year before, leaving the only variables as financial and player desire.
Barcelona and Spanish rivals Real Madrid seem abnormally uncomfortable with the fact United signed Pogba, and United fans should delve deep into their discontent- finally, the “world’s best clubs” are being put in their place, and there is no better club than Manchester United to do so. Both Soler and Raiola are supposedly reliable sources, yet the implications of Soler’s statements are far more vague than Raiola’s. Therefore, it is most reasonable to believe that Pogba chose United, and Barcelona’s financial muscles are beginning to hurt a little bit.