Welshman Gareth Bale created a stir three years ago, when Real Madrid acquired the Tottenham Hotspur footballer for about 100 million Euros. Until then, Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 was the highest price for a footballer at 98.74 million euros. Now 23-year old French star Paul Pogba has beaten them all. He has just moved to Manchester United for a reported 105 million Euros or 89 million pounds that the managers at Old Trafford will pay for Pogba’s transfer from Italian club Juventus. Pogba’s arrival at Old Trafford is like homecoming for the French star because he had spent some time as a member of the senior team before crossing over to Juventus for a pittance in 2012. Those days, the legendary Alex Ferguson was still the Man-U coach and he didn’t approve Pogba’s not renewing his contract with the Club. Ferguson felt that Pogba showed disrespect for Manchester United. However, now the wheel has turned full circle. Ferguson has long gone and two more managers after him have also come and gone in quick succession. Talks about Pogba’s acquisition from Juventus had begun during the days of Louis Van Gaal but the real efforts began, when Jose Mourinho came to Old Trafford. Now it is all official. Pogba’s 5-year contract amounting to 105 million Euros and performance bonus of an additional 5 million euros makes him the costliest footballer ever.
Frenchman Paul Pogba is regarded as a skilled and creative player, whose energetic game always has an eye for the goal. Besides, Pogba is forever looking for something spectacular. During his days with Juventus, he earned a couple of nicknames for his playing style. Some people called him “Paul the Octopus” for his unusually long legs, which he used as tentacles during a tackle or run-up to the goal. Some others called him Pogboom for his explosive style and immense energy on the football field. During his tenure at Juventus, Pogba helped them win four consecutive Serie A titles. In addition, Pogba also contributed in Juventus winning two Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana titles.
It has been three years since a European football club has made as lavish an expenditure as Man-U has done for Pogba. The Frenchman’s transfer is valued at 105 million Euros or 89 million pounds or 116.4 million US dollars. In 2013, Gareth Bale shocked everyone by his transfer price of 85.1 million pounds that Real Madrid paid to Tottenham Hotspur. The Wales footballer was considered as the fastest player on the field. He required so little time in moving with a football from one end to another that even Usain Bolt was surprised with his tremendous speed. In three years at Saint Bernabeu, Bale has firmly established himself and Real Madrid have won two UEFA Champions League titles with Bale. He is also remembered in Spain for scoring the famous winning goal in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid’s arch rivals Barcelona.
Before Gareth Bale, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wore the tag of world’s most expensive footballer, when he crossed from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009. For 4 years until Bale commanded a higher transfer price, Ronaldo’s acquisition at 83.7 million pounds continued to be highest price for any footballer. Besides Pogba, Bale and Ronaldo, no one comes closer to the whopping sum of money spent on these three. Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain comes next after commanding 75.3 million pounds for his transfer from Napoli to Juventus. Higuain is followed by Uruguayan Luis Suarez, who was acquired by FC Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014 for 75 million pounds. A year earlier, Brazilian Neymar was also taken by Barcelona from Santos for 71.5 million pounds. FC Barcelona have since reaped the benefit of Suarez and Neymar playing alongside the great Lionel Messi in their forward line.
Pogba’s arrival at Manchester United will bolster the flagging fortunes of the celebrated club, which has fallen on bad times since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. His successor was David Moyes, who came from Everton on 6-year contract but couldn’t last even one full year. He made himself unpopular among players and couldn’t win many matches for Man-U. Under Moyes, United failed to defend their Premier League title and couldn’t even qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1990. After Moyes was sacked in April 2014, Ryan Giggs came as a stop-gap manager for 10 months before Dutchman Louis Van Gaal came to Old Trafford amid big fanfare. Man-U enrolled van Gaal after his impressive performance for the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Under van Gaal, Man-U came back to qualify for the Champions League but the team went downhill subsequently. Man-U parted ways with van Gaal and brought Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho instead. By current indications, Mourinho looks committed to connect Manchester United with its glorious past. After recruiting Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ivory Coast’s Eric Bailly and Paris Saint Germain’s Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho has nearly completed his acquisition for Man-U by bringing in Paul Pogba. How Man-U’s fortunes swing from this point onwards is anybody’s guess.