The straightforward, down-to-earth answer to the above question is: Yes, he is ridiculously expensive and nobody should be spending that amount of money on one player. As Jürgen Klopp mentioned, at least three top class players could be brought in to strengthen a team for that sort of money. Also, the knock-on effect for other clubs is frightening, particularly the smaller clubs.

The true answer is: No, United will recover the money in a relatively short space of time, effectively meaning that he will have cost nothing. In fact, I read a short while ago that advance orders for Pogba shirts totalled somewhere in the region of £72 million, so not much more is required to achieve a complete refund!

This ability to recoup the outlay over a short period of time is not unique to United. Real Madrid did it with Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona have managed to do the same with Neymar and Luis Suarez. The catch is that you have to have enough supporters prepared to buy the shirt for the maths to work and this is the level that the vast majority of clubs have yet to reach and that most never will.

The cost of a Manchester United shirt for men is approximately £52. Obviously there are also shirts available for women and children but, for the sake of this example, I will just use the mens. If Paul Pogba is costing Manchester United £90 million, and I have no way of knowing if that is the true figure, then at £52 per shirt United need to sell 1,730,769 of them to recover their money. If their claim that they have 600 million fans worldwide is true, then this shouldn’t take too long assuming that at least some of that number actually like Pogba.

Another aspect of this transfer about which we know very little is how much of it is being funded by Adidas, who would also recoup their outlay from shirt sales but, as they are far and away the biggest sponsors of Manchester United, what is certain is that they have a major involvement in the deal.

So whether or not Pogba arrives at Old Trafford, (and it seems pretty certain that he will), the money side of things seems to be fairly secure.

Though it pains me to say it, a lot of this financial security and ability to spend big is down to Ed Woodward. He has signed a few sponsors in his time and is certainly responsible for a lot of the money that flows into United’s bank accounts.

The problem that the United owners caused for themselves by placing him in charge of transfers was his inability to negotiate any deal in favour of the club. Initially he was caught out by superior negotiators who had him overpaying for Angel Di Maria and Maroune Fellaini, neither of whom is worth anywhere near the fee paid by United. He will also overpay for Pogba if/when the deal goes through, so he certainly hasn’t learnt any lessons.

It does not appear, though, that he loses any sleep over his wastefulness with the club’s money. This is probably because he thinks that he is responsible for generating a very large chunk of it so he does not have any semblance of a guilty conscience when he is spending it.

Whatever the reasons behind it are, United fans should just be grateful that their team, without having to rely on billionaire benefactors as do Manchester City and Chelsea, are in a position to compete financially for any player on the planet.

The icing on this particular cake will be a swift return to the Champion’s League for the 2017/18 season which will be another reason for the best players to sign for Manchester United.


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