Manchester United are expected to complete the signing of Paul Pogba for a world record fee of up to £100 million. His price tag has certainly raised a few eyebrows with many questioning whether he is worth anywhere near £100 million. One of Pogba’s former teammates and former United defender Rio Ferdinand has weighed in on the debate and has put his point of view out there. Ferdinand has likened his £30 million transfer fee to the rumoured £100 million fee for Pogba.
“He loves football. It’s all about improving and being the best. When he left I asked him why and he said: ‘I want to be the best player in the world.’ He’s on the right track. It is big pressure, but my biggest pressure wasn’t on the football pitch at Old Trafford. My biggest pressure was on the training pitch with those players. It was walking into the dressing room knowing that they were thinking: ‘What does £30 million get you then? Can he win us the league? Can he help be the bedrock of this team?’ That’s the pressure that I felt most when I went into Manchester United, and putting that pressure on myself to write myself into the history of the club through success and winning trophies.”
Ferdinand also admits that Pogba will be judged on the success that he achieves at Old Trafford and the longevity of his spell upon his return to United. Ferdinand stayed at The Red Devils for 12 seasons, making his transfer fee come out at a bargain £2.5 million per season. So if Pogba can stay at Old Trafford for a decade and help the club return to its past glories, then in years to come when looking back on Pogba’s transfer fee it could be viewed relatively cheap if he works out at around £10 million per season.
“When Pogba comes, it’s just going to be down to the pure black-and-white question of: Will he perform? Will Manchester United win trophies? That’s how you get judged? People said when I went there, ‘It’s too much money for a centre-half’. But then we won things and people now look back and say: ‘It wasn’t that expensive when you consider we won six Premier League trophies out of 12 years’. If Paul goes there for £100million, stays there and they win five out of 10 [Premier League] trophies, you’ll look back and say, ‘Well done, good business.”
Ferdinand also acknowledges that although his former club will be paying a world record sum for a footballer, Pogba is still developing and isn’t the finished article just yet, but he will become one of the best in the next world over the next few seasons. £100 million is an astronomical fee, and Ferdinand questions whether anyone is worth even a fifth of that, but admits that transfer fees will continue to rise, due to the growing commercial revenue that clubs receive.
“For £100 million, you want someone who’s going to develop into someone who can dictate a game, can win games on his own, can drag his team over the line. Can he develop into that player? Yes, I think he’s got the potential to do that. Is he worth £100 million? I don’t know, is anyone worth £20 million? I was cheap at that point! At £18 million and then £30 million, it’s relative. The money that Man United are bringing in now, commercially, allows them to spend that money.”
No matter the transfer fee, the main aim of Ed Woodward in this transfer window should be to improve the playing squad and assemble a team capable of winning the Premier League. Paul Pogba is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the world, so adding him to an already impressive squad, alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Eric Bailly certainly puts The Red Devils amongst the favourites to be sitting top of the league in May as Wayne Rooney hopefully lifts title number 21.