6 reasons why Paul Pogba is easily worth £100m to Manchester United
Paul Pogba's future is the subject of intense speculation. Who knows where he will start the 2016/17 season...
He could very easily decide that it is in his best interests to remain at Juventus. They are investing heavily in an already impressive squad and would look to challenge for domestic and European titles once again this term. Alternatively, Real Madrid may decide to make him their Galactico signing of the summer and tempt him to La Liga.
One thing is for sure - Jose Mourinho and Manchester United are desperate to bring him to Old Trafford. So much so that they're ready to play around £100m - plus a fortune in wages - for the privilege. But is he really worth such a heavy investment? Many are baulking at the unprecedented price tag. Here we look at the rationale behind that valuation.
Manchester United are a money making machine. Laugh as you may at their awful movie trailers, pot noodle partners, cringeworthy wine ads and sponsored training tops, but they are absolutely raking it in. In just over a decade of Glazer control, the club have paid out approximately £1 billion in interest payments. Net outlay on players is a fraction of that, and £100m is a drop in the ocean. They can afford it.
Pogba is an asset. If United were to secure his services for around £100m, he would only appreciate in value. He is still a mere 23 years of age and already acknowledged as one of the best and most valuable midfielders in the world. The trajectory of transfer fees is only going one way and you would expect United to make a hefty profit if they decide to cash in on him in a few years.
The main reason why Pogba is so valuable is because he is very good at football. However, his worth is also enhanced by his 'image'. Whether you like it or not, a player's look, style and popularity off the field is incredibly important in modern football and the Frenchman is extremely marketable and charismatic. All the haircuts, bling and dance moves make him a very valuable 'brand'. He has an X factor that few footballers can boast.
Talking of 'brands', United are in the process of rebuilding theirs. The club will always enjoy a level of glamour due to their history, but players no longer perceive joining the club as a guarantee of medals and success. Signing Pogba would help reestablish United's pulling power in the same way Mourinho has, and act as a 'loss leader' if he helps the club reassert their winning reputation and draw.
If Louis van Gaal's tenure at the club has proved anything, it is that spending smaller fortunes on a large number of lesser players can be a false economy. The total outlay can be enormous, but without significant progress to show for it. Pogba may be much more expensive in comparison, but that is partly because he is a safer bet and a more guaranteed match-winner. Less fucking about on speculative punts basically.
The new £8.3 billion Premier League broadcast rights deal is a game-changer. Allied with the obscene amounts that Chinese clubs are willing to pay for European-based talent, it will redefine what we assume to be good value in the transfer market. It is why Watford are able to turn down £25m for Troy Deeney, and how Burnley can possibly value Michael Keane at £20m. In comparison, £100m for Pogba doesn't seem ridiculous.
...finally, as for the 'Well they let him go for nothing' argument, they didn't. He was a free agent. It can be argued that the club (and Sir Alex Ferguson in particular) didn't convince him to stay, but he was free to walk out of the door for nowt. Buying him back would not be exacerbating a mistake, it would be correcting it. Albeit it for around £100m.