How Manchester United Lost £50 Million


Manchester United are famed for nurturing talented youngsters from their reserve teams and promoting them to their First Team. In fact the previous two decades of success were built around the success of the Manchester United Academy, as it produced some of the finest footballers to grace the Premier League. The talented graduates are named the ‘Class Of 92’ and are a reminder for the rest of the world of the successful United Academy.
Recently the Academy has once again sprung back into life and is producing tantalizing talents such as Ben Pearson, James Wilson, Ravel Morrison and Andreas PereiraHowever one of the finest graduates produced by the Manchester United Academy recently, was denied a future at Manchester United by Sir Alex.
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Stoke City - Old Trafford

The Star in Question is Paul Pogba.

Currently playing for Turin based club Juventus, 20 year old Paul Pogba is making footballing headlines for all the right reasons.  The French international was a Manchester United youth star who was tipped to be the midfield magician Manchester United had been lacking. Previously winning the FA Youth Cup in 2011 with United, Pogba had already won over the respect of the dressing room.


Patrice Evra said “His talent on the pitch, his aggression, his presence, is very rare. He very quickly earned the respect of players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. It’s true that have you have to win over the manager too, but to have won the dressing room like he did was impressive.”


He was obviously thus a hugely talented footballer who would become a superstar in the future, so what happened at Manchester that resulted in one of the world’s brightest prospects leaving for a free transfer? In short the same happened to Pogba, what had happened to another great midfielder Roy Keane.


Regardless of their ability they were shunned from the club. The simple reason for that was neither of them saw eye to eye with Sir Alex. Pogba demanded extra game time and extra wages. Sir Alex has historically been hugely against player power as Van Nisteroy and Roy Keane will tell you,  thus Pogba was told to take it or leave it. He did the latter. Thus in the summer of 2012 one of the worlds brightest prospects left a club that was in dire need of his services, over wages.

paul-pogba-juventus

If one looks at it from a neutral perspective it is easy to see the argument of both parties. Sir Alex long held the philosophy that no one was bigger than the club and thus dismissed Pogba as he believed the youngster was believing in his own hype and was thinking of himself as the future of the great club. Pogba on the other hand was frustrated. Earlier in the season, Sir Alex had opted to play a midfield of Rafael and Park-Ji Sung rather than give the starlet an opportunity to prove himself. Pogba thought that his manager did not believe in him and left the club saying “I didn’t want to sign a contract as Ferguson didn’t play me, even though there were no midfielders there,”

Now lets fast forward to 2014. Manchester United currently lie 7th in the Premier League table and are in dire need of a creative Central midfielder who can provide their forwards with more than just scraps to feed on. At the moment in Central midfield Carrick, Cleverley, Fellani and often Jones are doing a job but neither of them are currently doing it to a standard that is expected of a Manchester United midfielder. Neither of them offer the ‘complete package’ as Pogba does.

His aggressive play and towering 6’1 stature makes him a physical presence in the middle of the park. He is thus able to tackle, intercept the ball and that coupled with his immense work rate makes him a great ball-winning midfielder. He is also able to pick out nearly any type of pass required. This could be a lofty chip over the defensive line or a simple but incisive one two outside the opposition box. In short his great passing range allows him to unlock the oppositions defense from deep or more forward areas. In fact he has done this 42 times this season as he has created 42 chances this season which is more than Yaya Toure and any Manchester United midfielder. Pogba also offers a thunderous long range shot. Videos of those I will let you have a look yourself, however here is an example of what he can do.

As Pogba thrives at Juventus, Manchester United fans really begin to wonder what could have been. Only ‘if’ he’d been been provided the necessary game time we would not be facing the current midfield dilemma we face now. He truly remains the one that got away.

Further Reading:

DMM: Analysing The Roy Keane and Scholes Midfield Axis

The Manchester United Summer Clear Out – Who Stays? Who Goes?

Why Has Javier Hernandez Struggled Under David Moyes

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4 responses to “How Manchester United Lost £50 Million

  1. Why would you fast forward too 2014? What happened inbetween Pogba leaving and Sir Alex retiring? We go on to win a league title that year He left and people still claim it was fergies ”biggest mistake”. Other teams are looking to buy Pogba to help them win titles, united sell Pogba and win the titles and our supporters complain.

    • Thanks for reading the post. Your feedback is much appreciated!
      Letting Pogba go was a mistake. Even as a youth everyone knew his massive potential. The guy was enormously talented and deserved a place on the team sheet. United were lacking world class midfielders and he had the potential to be one. Back then the mistake was not so glaringly obvious due to Fergie’s genius and Pogba still developing. However now when he is finally fulfilling the potential everyone knows he had the problem is hugely obvious. United are lacking a box to box, physical and energetic midfielder. That is exactly what Pogba is!
      I understand why he was let go. He was paid peanuts, compared to BPL standards and he wanted a raise and playing time. Exactly what all young players want these days. Fergie rejected him. It was a huge mistake which is still costing us dearly.

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