Mino Raiola has once again hit the headlines this week with more comments regarding the future of Paul Pogba at Manchester United. Raiola stated that ‘a great player doesn’t go to Manchester United only to not challenge for the Premier League and Champions League’ and has previously spoken about how the club ruins great players.
“I wouldn’t take anyone there, they would ruin even Maradona, Pele and Maldini.”
One of Raiola’s clients, Erling Braut Haaland, is bang in form right now for Borussia Dortmund, scoring 10 goals in his first six games for the German club. Haaland was heavily linked with United given his relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United’s new transfer policy of signing young and hungry players with potential. However, the player didn’t sign, much to the frustration of United fans, especially considering the low fee he went for and the fact that many felt another striker was essential in the January window.
Despite this short-term pain, United will receive long term gain. When United paid a world record fee of £89 million to bring Pogba ‘back home’ to Manchester, the idea from the club would have been to build a team around the still relatively young midfielder. United will most likely still be hoping this will happen but the influence from Raiola over the last few seasons is clearly affecting Pogba’s mindset.
Just two years after joining, Pogba was reportedly hoping to secure a move to Barcelona. The midfielder had just won the World Cup with France in 2018 and clearly this triumph made him think he could do better than to stay at Old Trafford. On top of this, the next summer, in 2019, Pogba stated it was his dream to play under Zinedine Zidane, who had just recently returned to manage Real Madrid. Links with the Spanish giants and Pogba’s old club Juventus still remain, with Raiola recently stating Italy was ‘like home’ for Pogba.
If United were to have signed Haaland, he may have had the same instant impact that he is currently having for Dortmund, but questions would surely arise soon after about his long-term commitment to his club. The last thing United will want is for Raiola to use the club as a feeder club for his clients. Players coming to the club should see the move as a step up rather than a stepping stone, it should be the pinnacle of their career and if they are coming without that attitude then it is not worth pursuing them.
Haaland’s attitude has been questioned over the past few months, resulting in the striker having to come out and deny allegations that himself and Raiola demanded huge sums of money from United. Haaland supposedly bases his game off of another Raiola client, Zlatan Ibrahimović, also seeming to take inspiration from the Swede off the pitch as well as on it with some ridiculous quotes to the press.
“I sleep with the five balls for each hat-trick I have scored. I lie in bed and I feel good with them.”
Such arrogance may seem justified from Ibrahimović with the career he has had in the game across two decades but for a young player like Haaland who has still done relatively little in his career, it seems egotistical. United and Solskjaer are looking for players who are humble and want to improve and quotes from Haaland like this show that he might just believe the hype surrounding him.
However, it may also be the case that he is just playing up to the media. Either way, despite his size, skill and obvious talent in front of goal, with Raiola being his agent, a move for Haaland wasn’t worth gambling on. It would have left Manchester United with another Pogba sized headache in a few years’ time.
Written by Alex Metcalfe