Move over, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Paul Pogba has taken away your former titles.
French newspaper L’Equipe reported Wednesday that Pogba is nearing a return to Manchester United from Juventus after the teams agreed to a record £105 million (€120 million/$140 million) transfer fee for the French midfielder. Pogba is expected to sign a five-year contract, undergo a physical examination and complete the most expensive signing in history in the coming days.
Pogba left Manchester United as a free agent in 2012 in somewhat bitter circumstances after failing to receive regular playing time by age 19. His agent, Mino Raiola, fell out with then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson during contract negotiations, and Pogba took his talents to Turin, Italy.
But Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward now are in charge of Manchester United. They convinced Pogba to leave Juventus — a team with which he won four consecutive Serie A (Italian first division) titles, two Coppa Italias (Italian Cup) and finished runner-up in the UEFA Champions League in 2015 — and spend at least the early years of a his prime at Old Trafford.
Pogba’s reported price eclipses those of Ronaldo and Bale, who have held the “world’s most expensive player” tag for the last seven years. Real Madrid paid Manchester United £80 million (€94 million/$128 million) for Ronaldo in 2009. The Spanish club spent £84.5 million (€101 million/132 million) to sign Bale from Tottenham in 2013.
Pogba’s fee represents his considerable talent, untapped potential and the spending power Premier League clubs possess thanks to the latest television deals.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via July 4, 2014; Rio De Janeiro, BRAZIL; Germany player Toni Kroos (left) controls the ball against France player Paul Pogba during the quarterfinal match in the 2014 World Cup at Estadio Do Maracana. Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports