SPORTS

Paul Pogba to United: It’s Not Over Till The Old Lady Sings

TAGs: Lee Davy, Man Utd, Manchester United, Paul Pogba

The bookmakers stop taking money for Paul Pogba’s proposed move to Manchester United, but the North West club has been in this position before, and United fans hope they will have learned from their previous mistakes.

Par excellence has always powered Manchester United’s engine room. Sir Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Paul Gascoigne have all taken on the role of the beating heart of a midfield that drove the Red Devils onto glory.

Paul Pogba to United: It’s Not Over Till The Old Lady SingsWait.

Paul Gascoigne?

He never became a Manchester United player.

Sir Alex Ferguson lost the most talented midfielder of his generation after being gazumped by Tottenham.

What swayed the Geordie genius?

Spurs bought a house for his parents.

Mistakes are the lifeblood of progress.

You need them to improve.

But it’s always sensible to try and make your mistakes as least costly as you can.

The 2009-10 season was an important one for Manchester United. The year before they equalled their arch rival Liverpool’s record of 18 English league titles and were searching for a record fourth consecutive Premier League title, as well as a record third consecutive Champions League final.

They were the richest and most famous football club in the world. The squad included world class players of the ilk of Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Wayne Rooney.

All eyes were on the Red Devils.

Nobody cared about the arrival of a gangly 16-year old boy like Bambi from Le Havre called Paul Pogba.

He played three times for Man Utd’s first team during his three seasons at the club before he left to sign for Juventus, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to accuse the youngster of a ‘lack of respect.’

Later in Ferguson’s book Leading he would talk about his dislike of Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola as the main reason he couldn’t keep hold of Pogba.

“I distrusted him from the moment I met him.” Ferguson wrote. “He and I were like oil and water.”

Ferguson goes on to explain how the agent had gained the trust of Pogba and his parents, and that was the ultimate reason Pogba chose to head to Juventus, as well as the opportunity to play in the first team for the Old Lady.

United received £800,000 in compensation from the Italians.

Over time his stock would rise…sharply.

The Shop Window

Fast forward to 2016 and Pogba is an international superstar. He has won four consecutive Serie A titles, and two Coppa Italia’s since joining Juventus in 2012. The Old Lady’s run in the 2014-15 Champions League, where they lost to Barcelona in the final, gave Pogba the opportunity to show the world what he was made of, and he quickly became a mainstay in the French national side

Euro 2016, France. Every single player knows they are in the shop window when the two biggest national footballing competitions are wheeled out on display. Paul Pogba was no different. Serie A is not the place where the world’s greatest footballers hang out. It’s a league that is well passed it’s sell by date. Pogba knew this.

In the opening games, I got the impression he was trying too hard to impress. Didier Deschamps dropped him for the second group game as a result. And yet he shone as bright as anyone when reinstated. His valuation skyrocketed to a point that only Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid or Barcelona could afford to buy him. And with the money on offer set to be a world record fee more than €100,000, Juventus were always going to let him leave. It was good business.

But who would sign him?

 All Bets Are Off

The bookmakers were in unison.

Pogba would return to Manchester United. The club that let him go for £800,000 because Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t like his agent. In the past few weeks, all bets are off. BetStars are offering 1/5 that the French star will join as early as this week.

There are many reasons Pogba would return to United. Do not overlook familiarity. He is still very young. There will be a familiar feel to the United set up for him, and that’s important when moving countries. Fellow Frenchman Anthony Martial plays at the club, and they have The Special One at the helm.

The only thing that United lack is a berth in the Champions League.

But Pogba needs to be thinking long term, not short term. Mourinho is slowly piecing together the United jigsaw. The signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will ensure United return to the Champions League next season. They are second favourites behind Man City to win the Premier League outright.

And what a spine United will have if Pogba signs.

David De Gea – Chris Smalling – Paul Pogba – Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

And let’s not underestimate the impact youth will have on United this season. Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford will provide United with a jet powered forward line. Luke Shaw, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, and Tim Fosu-Mensah will shore up the back.

The Man United Engine Room

United have missed an engine room player since the days of Scholes and Keane.

Pogba is perfect.

Can you imagine him tippy-tapping the football backwards and sideways like Michael Carrick?

He is a man built to move forward.

He is a man built to win.

If he does end up wearing the No.6 shirt at Old Trafford next season it will be a world record fee. It will be the second world record fee that United have been a part of in recent years after Real Madrid paid United €94m to take Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu. The current world record is the €100.8m Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale’s signature.

Manchester United won’t agree with the bookmakers.

They have been here before.

They have made mistakes before.

“Go and enjoy yourself {holiday} Mr Ferguson. I will be signing for Manchester United.” Gascoigne was supposed to have told the former Man Utd boss before he made a last ditch U-turn and signed for Tottenham.

It ain’t over till the Old Lady sings.

If I were Man Utd, I wouldn’t be going anywhere. I wouldn’t care if his agent was Hitler, I would do everything in my power to ensure that Pogba returns home to his rightful place in the United engine room.

It might be a €100m mistake.

But it will be worth every penny.

Comments

views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CalvinAyre.com