Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has praised Manchester United for the signing of Paul Pogba and believes that he is the exact sort of signing that United needed for the upcoming season, due to his arrogance on and off the pitch. The Frenchman completed his world record transfer to United at 00:20 BST and was Jose Mourinho’s fourth signing of the summer, following Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Zlatan Ibrahimović into Old Trafford.
“It’s important, not just for United, that they sign players of stature and personality, with Mourinho going there, and now with Zlatan and Pogba, they have players who can fill the shirt, they will stick their shoulders out.”
The newly reinstated Sky Sports expert analyst was, however, critical of United’s slumbered approach to replacing the big ego’s that allowed the club to thrive under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson. Ex-teammates of Neville’s such as Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, and Ryan Giggs were all allowed to leave the club over a two-year period, and with so many leaders exiting the dressing room in such quick succession, Neville feels the club lost its personality, which may have attributed to United’s shortcoming under Louis van Gaal and David Moyes. But he does believe that the club is now heading in the right direction due to the acquisitions of Ibrahimović and Pogba, who will both be unfazed by the prospect of wearing the famous red shirt when stepping out on the pitch at Old Trafford. The duo both possess “big shoulders and guts” traits Neville believes are necessary to be able to succeed at Old Trafford.
“They will have the strength and personality, which is what Manchester United haves lacked for two or three years. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra among others left, they had big personalities and they were propping the club up in the changing rooms. You need big shoulders and guts to play for Manchester United. The idea of Zlatan and Pogba returning there is big on the personality front.”
Neville was also critical of United’s transfer strategy in the last few years. Since Ed Woodward became Vice Chief Executive at the club he has continuously chased down big names, to show the intent of United, which is to be able to compete with and beat the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain to completing world record transfers. This has seen United purchase the likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria, both of whom failed to live up to expectations after joining the Red Devils. However, Neville believes that the money United have parted ways with this summer has been a statement to world football, reminding the big clubs that they are still a giant club, with the financial clout to be able to sign players who can return the club to its former glory.
“It’s important that United made a statement, they’ve spent quite a lot of money in recent years without getting anywhere. It’s important they make a statement in terms of this signing to show what they are.”