So there it is, confirmation bar wet ink on a contract, that Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will move to Italian champions Juventus this summer. United will receive compensation in the region of £300,000, while Pogba will enjoy a huge salary bump to more than €1 million per season on a four-year contract with the Turin-based club.
Yet, with the Reds have willingly sold Ravel Morrison to West Ham United last January, Pogba becomes the second player in the 2011 FA Youth Cup winning team to depart Old Trafford. The departures of two highly talented players in a short space of time may be coincidence, and each for different reasons, but fans will ask questions of the club’s planning and strategy.
Confirmation of Pogba’s move was sent earlier this month by letter from the French midfielder’s agent, Mino Raiola, to United chief executive David Gill. Yet, it is only in the past week that Juve executives have gone public, secure in the knowledge that a deal has been agreed for the talented youngster. Pogba’s contract with Vecchia Signora will kick in on 1 July, the day after his Old Trafford deal runs out.
“We have lured Pogba away from Manchester United, we respected the rules,” Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta told Corriere dello Sport.
“Pogba, for his own reasons, didn’t intend to renew his contract with United. So we informed the club and we are now waiting for an answer. Talks are well advanced.”
There is no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson will be disappointed though – if not embarrassed – by United’s failure to hang on to a leading youth talent, having invested publicly in backing the player over the past year. While Pogba’s form has been intermittent for United’s all-conquering reserves this season, Ferguson has been fulsome in his praise of the teenager’s potential.
Meanwhile, the deal represents a major coup for Juve, tempting away one of Europe’s most sought-after young players for a minimal fee, with virtually no risk attached. While the Old Lady has constructed its first championship winning side since Calciopoli, and moved into a brand new stadium, Juventus’ budget is just a fraction of United’s at £167.8 million to the Reds’ £331.4 million. Juve should not be able compete with United on wages.
Yet, Juventus seemingly offers a more attractive proposition, both financially, with the Italians presumably offering more than United was prepared to countenance for a reserve player, and perhaps in terms of football too. After all, while much talk has centred on United’s central midfield over the past year, Pogba started no games for the first team in the season just finished. This despite long-term injuries and illness affecting Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Tom Cleverley.
The Frenchman may find it challenging to break into Antonio Conte’s side where Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal have formed an effective central midfield triumvirate, but this will presumably mean a loan spell at a Serie B club next season. Ferguson, presumably, could not guarantee that Pogba will play any more games at United.
Back at Old Trafford there remains the question of how Sir Alex failed to persuade Pogba that United is the youngster’s best option. After all, while Juve’s offer is attractive it is not life-changing, especially for a player many believe will make it to the very top. While United is no longer the best paying club in England, the old adage that players don’t need to chase money at Old Trafford, it will find them, remains true. However, United, it appears, was indeed outbid for the player’s services.
Moreover, Ferguson’s while reputation for developing youth is unparalleled, the 70-year-old Scot’s pleas for Pogba to sign a new deal in Manchester fell on very deaf ears.
In context of selling Morrison, who was willingly forced out by Ferguson, United have now lost two of the finest players from last season’s Youth Cup winning side. Losing one was a shame; two begs some very real questions. Moreover, years of work helping Pogba to develop greater range in his game since the player joined in controversial circumstances from Le Harve in 2009 have effectively been wasted – a player polished for Juve to enjoy.
There is no guarantee of successful development of any of United’s other young stars either. While the club’s reserves won the FA Premier Reserve League North, Play-off, and the Manchester Senior Cup in the campaign just finished, it is unlikely any of Warren Joyce’s side will break into the’ first team next season. Many will play in the Championship on loan, but history tells us that Ferguson will be thankful if just one makes it at United as a regular first team player. Morrison and Pogba were seen by many, at differing times, as ‘sure things’.
Then there is the question of where, exactly, United now ranks in the market for football talent. If the club is unable, or unwilling, to sanction fees and wages for the very best players, and cannot hold onto youth, there is a real possibility of United being squeezed out of the market at both ends.
After all this isn’t an esoteric question. Financial fair play, market economics, and United’s huge debt, each mean that identifying, developing and polishing young talent is a major priority for Ferguson and his coaching team. Losing one of the best prospects to a European rival makes for a very uncomfortable view of the future.
Pogba departure leaves Reds pondering youth future(71 posts) (15 voices)
Posted by unregistered user: spider
It might be the case that Pogba was offered greater wages and more playing time at Juve, but I think his agent may well have had a say in it. There was talk that he wanted a fee of a couple of million for getting the contract done, which is obscene for a reserve player getting a new contract, but not so much as an agent fee for essentially a free transfer, hence Juve were prepared to pay Raiola what it took to get the deal done, United wouldn’t be held to ransom. Either way it’s disappointing that we have wasted time, effort, money on a player who has ultimately given us nothing.
Posted by unregistered user: DeadRevel
It must have been money, or we could have sent him on loan surely?
Posted by unregistered user: BennyH
Just think how many times this season Ferguson has lied about Pogba’s playing time this season. So many times he talked about how “Pogba would definitely have a part to play” in the upcoming game, and sometimes he didn’t even make the squad.
Every time he’s come on – Stoke immediately comes to mind – he’s looked brilliant. Every inch the United player.
Imagine being Pogba – or Cleverley for that matter – and seeing Giggs start ahead of you, Scholes wheeled out of retirement, the Ji-Sung Park and Rafael axis of doom…
This season, Pogba should have stepped up, but he’s simply not been given a chance. I can’t blame him for leaving at all.
Posted by unregistered user: eltricolor2014
Playing time? SAF catered and praised Pogba so he could stay but it didn’t mean Pogba was a starter. Once we were out of Carling and the FA Cup, SAF was not ever going to start Pogba, he’s just not ready for PL, maybe in Italy and God knows La Liga but not the PL. And let’s be honest, $1 million a year for a reserve player? Hey, if I was 18 y/o and played for Chelsea or L’pool and was offered $1 million to play for Juve, I would take that in a second. Honestly, Man United isn’t in Pogba’s heart, good riddance to any player that doesn’t want to be at your club.
Posted by unregistered user: Cohentana
I’ve got a different view on this, simply because Fergie said a few weeks ago that a deal had been struck with Pogba and his agent. He said it’s up to the boy now to decide.
My view is that Pogba’s wages were matched, but the agent probably had to agree for far less. Mino therefore has been applying massive pressure on Pogba to join his mates at Juventus, who are prepared to pay Mino a large signing on fee, in the knowledge that in a couple of years time they could sell Pogba for at least ten million,regardless of playing time and Mino would earn again with another sale.
It’s simply not in Mino’s interest for Pogba to remain at Old Trafford, because players stick around there for years. Pogba is young and is being force fed tons of Italian bullshit and promises. He is a dream come true for Mino. I really don’t think Pogba would move if Mino wasn’t his agent. And Pogba probably innocently only signed him up initially to negotiate a new contract, and then a seed was planted. Easily done to a teenager.
Juventus and Mino are going to clean up with Pogba. They simply cannot lose.
Nah Pogba wanted to leave so good luck to him. He didn't seem the dramatic disrespectful type. It wouldn't be right for United to offer these sort of huge wages, United would have if they had thought it was worth it.
They paid a huge amount to buy Rooney at 18.Sir Ryan Giggs? No no no. Sir Paul Scholes say.
Posted by unregistered user: Jumping Jesus
I agree wholeheartedly with the article. He should have been given more game time. A gamble perhaps but in the end we won nothing and the player left anyway
Morrison has been exposed as nothing but trouble... great looking talent... but the off field discipline of a crack addict... just couldn't behave himself!... Shame!
Pogba, on the other hand, seems like a driven young lad, that just wants to play football...
Why Ferguson didn't play him is debatable... he wasn't the only player that Ferguson had to find game time for.
For me, the big question is... why was this kid, who everyone rates so highly, allowed to run his contract down?
He should have been tied down to a 5 year deal 2 years ago.
Whose fault is it that he wasn't?"Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don't need badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching' tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you."
Posted by unregistered user: Jim
I think you’ve nailed it mate regarding the agent’s role. Of course the agent was agitating to get a transfer, it’s generally much more lucrative than being a party to negotiating a new contract at the existing club. Don’t know if I agree with your second claim that Pogba only moved because of the agent who exploited an impressionable teenager. That’s mere specualation/conjecture, but I agree the agent generally would have been acting against United’s interests in playing hard ball with how much money went into the agent’s coffers!
Posted by unregistered user: Gopher Brown
He joined us in somewhat shady circumstances, ditching La Havre and a certain future for us, and now he’s left under the same cloud.
He’ll have fun in Italy with its poor track record on racism; crumbling, empty stadia; and its lack of opportunities for young players.
There does seem to be a lack of youngsters being integrated into the squad here though. Fryers got a few games then totally disappeared, Will Keane got 5 min against Blackburn to disappear again, with our severely limited budget, at the moment the focus at youth level seems to be on winning the youth cup etc, when the real focus should be on getting the youth players ready for first team action. Having a team with some academy graduates helps maintain our identity.
He still hasn't actually gone though, has he
Its obviously the fault of the Glazers.Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice - Steven Jobs
Juve's midfield is far better than ours, so this is not about playing, it's about money. I'm not judging either way, we simply don't know the hard facts. But it's fucking disappointing that the two big wonderkids in recent years -- morrison and pogba -- have now fucked off. The big question I think is whether the youth system actually works from a financial point of view? Would we be better off just forgetting about it and buying youngish players when they prove themselves elsewhere?
The big question I think is whether the youth system actually works from a financial point of view? Would we be better off just forgetting about it and buying youngish players when they prove themselves elsewhere?
thats the real madrid model isnt it.
i think we should differentiate youth players as british and foreigners. generally the british ones, we have groomed for years.
its only been in the last 10 years that we have started searching the globe to steal away young talent from other academies. rossi, pique, pogba and the twins are probably the most famous ones we have signed up. the difference between the twins and the other 3, is that the twins walked straight into the first team squad when the joined us, while rossi/pique/pogba all did time in the reserves/youth teams. for various reasons those 3 didnt get significant playing time for us in the first team, and they have now left. they were all very highly rated, and rossi and pique have both had very successful careers in spain.
maybe what we should be doing, is to stop pinching foreign kids from overseas academies. all well and good to buy them once they have made the initial breakthrough and we want them in our first team (like ronaldo), but we shouldnt be flooding our youth team with these players, for whom we pay significant compensation for poaching the players and significantly higher wages than other youth players. they clearly dont have the patience to wait for game time, they dont have real loyalty to Manchester United, and they are happier to move to greener pastures if they think thats better for them professionally and financially. Fergie, and clubs all over, only really started doing this after watching arsene wenger work his magic with cesc. and we all know how that ended.
Posted by unregistered user: ja
The biggest disappointment for me was seeing the team sheet for the Palace game. Park, Gibson and Diouf instead of Pogba, Morrison and a young forward such as Keane. United deserved to lose that game and ultimately Pogba.
Posted by unregistered user: wiuru
Think his head was turned long before the Palace game ! Anyway if he is off the best of luck to him .Im certain United will ensure errors on its part in the handling of this young lad , are not repeated .Morrison was a car crash waiting to happen .
Posted by unregistered user: shauno
This has nothing to do with money, the Glazers or even the agent etc. It has everything to do with the individual and his patience. From what I’ve seen of Pogba he is no way ready for first team action on a regular basis. In my view he wouldn’t be worth a million but like I said it’s not money that’s made him move. He thinks he ‘s ready, he wants first team Juve have given him a package that represents that and they are in the UCL. He didn’t want to stay. How many top class youth have we lost to other teams from our youth set up? Potentially one. I’m not bothered.
Posted by unregistered user: Denton Davey
He might step and be as good as the hype BUT he might not – only God knows. He looked promising in his cameo against Stoke but he came on after the result was decided in a match in which Stoke hadn’t tried to compete so it’s hard to know what to make of his ability/progress based on that example.
Difficult one, this.
The player's clearly been listening to his agent far too much than is good for him. We can't cry too much because we poached him from Le Havre and are now getting a taste of our own medicine.
I understand that we're not like Arsenal, who get young players on top wages before they've even proven anything (e.g - look at players like Walcott, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain), whereas we prefer to wait until a player has established himself before we reward him financially.
Pogba himself didn't see to be too unhappy about lack of playing time when he said that he wanted "to eat all of the cake" (i.e - get more first team action).
Only Fergie himself will know whether we were right not to bend to the demands of the agent and only he can judge whether a player has done enough to start calling the shots when he hasn't really achieved anything yet. Massively talented, yes, but he hadn't started regularly playing in the first team - and only Fergie judges whether you're ready
Its obviously the fault of the Glazers.
Hey mate. I know you taking the piss. Can't blame the parasites for everything. Poor management imo.
Like Alf says, this kid was so highly rated yet he was allowed to run his contract down. Fucking stupid whoever is responsible for that. Wonder if there is a decision not to renegotiate youngsters contracts unlesss in the last year....?tbf
Hey mate. I know you taking the piss. Can't blame the parasites for everything. Poor management imo.
Like Alf says, this kid was so highly rated yet he was allowed to run his contract down. Fucking stupid whoever is responsible for that. Wonder if there is a decision not to renegotiate youngsters contracts unlesss in the last year....?
Even though the club left things far too late, to the extent that we look pretty stupid, they must have been pretty confident that he would re-sign.
Posted by unregistered user: Gent
“He’ll have fun in Italy … and its lack of opportunities for young players.”
Yeah. like at Man. Utd. these days, we are giving much more playing time to the young lads!
We had a dead midfield all season and still we didn’t play him at all. We should at least tried him, much more than we did.
Posted by unregistered user: ForeverRed
Baggio – I think you make an excellent point here. I’m sure there are others who can pull up the detailed stats on the number and ‘origin’ of those that have broken into (and held a place in) the 1st team from the academy, say over the last 5 years. My sense is that it’s not very many to start with (Cleverley, Welbeck, Evans, Gibson(!)… others?) and hard to remember many from overseas (as you say, Rossi, Pique …others??). Certainly at the very least, a more informed analysis than mine would make interesting reading. Whichever way I look at it, the academy looks very exciting, but has too frequently disappointed where it really counts – providing the steady influx of top players for the 1st team.
Posted by unregistered user: ForeverRed
I guess none of us know what’s really happening behind the scenes, but it’s certainly frustrating if we lose another talented player, especially in a position where we’re so weak at the moment. Baffling. IF it is largely about the agent’s cut of the deal and Utd’s unwillingness to sacrifice principles, I personally think in this case we should be looking at the bigger picture. I hate us being held to ransom by anyone, but if at the end of it we get to keep a future world class CM for 2-3M in agents fees, it will certainly be a lot cheaper than buying someone else to replace him.
Think about the 17M for Phil Jones & 18M for DeGea – and they were no older than Pogba and arguably, barely more seasoned when bought. On a purely pragmatic basis, what difference is it to Utd paying e.g. Blackburn that money for Jones vs a fraction of it to an agent for Pogba? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like agents’ influence in the modern game, but there are many things in football that are in another world for the majority of us these days. And that doesn’t change the fact that what most reds fans care about is watching exciting young players being part of a successful Utd team.
So to the bigger picture, how are Utd as a club ultimately better served? Principles are vital to the point that the club is stronger and better for them. But if our competitiveness is being eroded, and we can’t hang on to our best youngsters then in my mind there has to be some flexibility, albeit on a case by case basis, if the result is a stronger team.
Of course, Fergie might genuinely think Pogba won’t make it, isn’t worth the trouble, or has the wrong mentality/attitude etc, etc. Fair enough – he certainly knows a lot better than me. But if so, why hype him up? As I said, it’s all very baffling and frustrating when we’re going to have to pay at least 15M+ (+ agent’s fees) to bring someone else in for this role. And, we’re going to need a couple of them to boot!
Posted by unregistered user: ChrisW
It can’t be about money. The wages Juventus are supposed to be offering Pogba are not that big and it was massively to our advantage financially to sign Pogba up to a new contract. He’d be worth many millions right now if he was signed to an adult contract. I’m sure the club would pay a lot to make him sign and it must be incredibly frustrating for them that he just won’t do it.
Pogba must have really fallen out with Ferguson to be so determined to leave.
Posted by unregistered user: Shyam
You cannot sign a under-18 player for more than 2 yr deals…Heard it somewhere..United and Ferguson always had reputation of bringing in talented youngsters and making them world-beaters…So if Pogba want to leave whose loss is that??…The agent is the culprit in this without doubt. Pogba want to stay otherwise he would have signed for Juve long ago. This has been dragged on for 6 months coz Pogba cant make up his mind and agent have his eyes set at the 2m on offer from Juve while Utd wont want to be held ransom and dont want to set a precedent in the academy players. This is the same agent who manages Ibra and Balotelli.
Posted by unregistered user: Mike Larry
Can’t wait to see the back of this joker. He’s barely played for the first team and is already demanding a bigger salary. On your bike son.
Posted by unregistered user: Gary
Totally agree – Pogba probably thought that if I can’t make it into the first team when up against Giggs Scholes Park Carrick – when will I ever get in. If I was him I’d be pissed off too – United giving youth a chance in the first team is more myth than fact.
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