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Paul Pogba and the Value of a Footballer


Oct 20, 2016

Since the beginnings of the Premier League in 1992, football and money have become more and more intertwined. With owners pouring crazy amounts of money into their clubs, every season seems to bring a record signing.

The latest record-breaking transfer was Paul Pogba who was bought by Manchester United from Juventus for £93.2 million. Since that transfer Pogba hasn’t set the league on fire and many pundits and fans are asking whether the value of a footballer has got out of control.

Paul Pogba hasn’t had a great start to the season after returning to his first club Manchester United in what was labelled as a “second coming”. The Guardian stated that after a solid performance against Southampton in the opening game the record-breaking star is not living up to the billing. Liverpool manger Jürgen Klopp criticized the transfer stating that even if he had the money he wouldn’t spend it all on one player before going on to say that that amount of money was ruining football. Mourinho replied with a typical Mourinho response and stated that Liverpool would never have this problem because “you need to be one of the top clubs in the world.”

This October the two sides met at Anfield and there was an expectation that a big game such as this could be the match that finally brought Pogba out of his shell. Football analysis and betting site Betfair in their build-up to the game had Manchester United as slight favourites to beat their arch enemies. Unfortunately this didn’t materialise, and the two teams grinded out a nil-nil draw with Pogba failing to establish himself in the game once again.

Different media outlets have come up with many theories, with The Independent speculating that “he is not performing with the conviction of someone who is sure of his responsibilities”. One reason the paper gives is that Mourinho isn’t sure which is his best position in the United team. For the amount of money that was spent on him it is a concern for United that they are not making good on their investment.

One problem with the current transfer market is that when a club buys a star name they are now not just buying a player, but also a brand. The reason that United were willing to pay £93.2 million is that Pogba has become an international name after a successful run at Juventus and during Euro 2016. The club’s goal is to turn the international profile of Pogba into profit through sponsorship deals and shirt sales. Gareth Bale for Real Madrid was the same deal as was Ronaldo before him. Footballers are not just being valued for their playing ability but bought as an investment for the club. Speaking to the Irish Examiner football finance expert Rob Wilson stated that “the Pogba thing is synonymous with new media, it resonates with the new age commercial deals.”

It is still early days for United but they will be determined to get back their investment, which isn’t just on shirt sales or sponsorship deals but the Premiership title. They will soon find out if £93.2 million was a good price to pay or whether it was a bad investment.

By Emily