He came with great expectations from Juventus, the Frenchman Paul Pogba arrived, no he came back ‘home’ to Manchester United last summer in a deal reported to be worth a staggering £89m, but after a most forgettable season at least in the league for the Red Devils, the question needs to be asked, is Paul Pogba Manchester United’s worst ever signing?
Pogba is currently the most expensive player to ever have been transferred from one club to another. He cost United £3.5m more than Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid and a cool £9m more than Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s fair to say that United have not got their bang for their buck so to speak when comparing players.
Of course it’s not Pogba’s fault that United decided to break the transfer record to get him, but after the dust has settled down and we’ve had a good 10 month look at him on English shores Pogba seems to be a decent player, but hardly a special one.
Of course Pogba was the fish that got away and the sheer cost of bringing him back to United was seen by many as grotesque if not daft. United under Sir Alex Ferguson had got Pogba from French side Le Harve back in 2009. The cost has never been made clear, though it was alleged that the deal was signed for £87,000 plus a house for the Frenchman. But just three years later Pogba refused to sign a new contract and was off to Juventus for the grand old sum of £800,000. His transfer history at least in football terms was still incredibly low.
That was until Pogba was deemed to have had a superb Euro 2016 with France, the eventual runners up to Portugal in that summers tournament and with a new manager at the helm in Jose Mourinho, Pogba was brought back, but for a kings ransom.
Earlier in the season United legend Gary Neville hinted that Pogba was confused when playing against the better teams, though admitted that Mourinho needed to incorporate the player better into his role. In March Paul Merson commented that Pogba’s play is being hampered by United forward Zlatan Ibramhimovic, in that Zlatan did not play to Pogba’s strengths and therefore the Frenchman could not get into what is his favoured position- the final third.
For the sum of money and return Pogba would statistically be the worst signing for United. However one should not forget other players that have come and gone from Old Trafford, most of them cruelly becoming the butt of pub jokes.
Massimo Taibi was signed from Italians Venezia in 1999 where he was struck off the books almost the moment he landed in Manchester. The goal keeper who was bought for £4,5m made just 4 appearances conceding on average almost 3 goals a game.
More recently was the swoop for Bebe from Guimaraes for a whopping £7.5m. United went for the player even though in Portugal he was relatively unknown and local media couldn’t believe that a club like United were coming in for him. Bebe went on to make just 7 appearances for the club before being loaned out. And then there was the deal for Wilfried Zaha who ended up being Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing at £12m. Zaha went on to play just 4 games for the Red Devils.
And we can’t finish this piece without of course mentioning Eric Djemba-Djemba cruelly labelled the next Roy Keane. Djemba-Djemba came from Nantes for £3.5m and was sold to Aston Villa two years later after his career failed to take off at United.
As for Pogba it could well be that we will see the best of the player next season, but as it stands it could well be one of the worst signings in United’s history. And one can’t fail to think that had he stayed in Italy he would have won another league title and be playing a certain Champions League final on June 3rd. All of this seems very distant at United right now.
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