His departure makes the most embarrassing moment of Sir Alex Ferguson. He let Paul Pogba walk away for basically nothing (£800,000). Pogba, who immediately walked into the first team of Juventus. Pogba who is tipped as a future winner of the Ballon d’Or and is expected the smash the transfer record when he does leave Juventus.
When United were linked with Pogba last summer, United quietly leaked that United were ‘looking forward, not back’ it suggesting that the wounds from Pogba’s departure were still raw.
Twelve months later and United are once again linked with the French midfielder but those whispers from Old Trafford are strangely quiet. So what has changed?
In two words: Jose Mourinho.
It is little surprise Pogba is on the Special One’s radar, as his three Premier League title-winning teams at Chelsea were built around dominant central midfielders.
Michael Essien was signed for £24m in his first spell at Stamford Bridge to add power to an engine room that already featured Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard.
Upon his return for his second spell Nemanja Matic was recruited for £21m despite Chelsea having sold him three years earlier. The Serbian, who has been linked with United this summer, turned out to be a linchpin in Chelsea’s title triumph in 2015.
There are echoes of that Matic deal in his interest in Pogba.
Chelsea had to swallow their pride to pay such a heavy premium on a player who had been used as a makeweight in the deal that brought David Luiz to Stamford Bridge. But it was a gamble that ultimately paid off.
There is little doubt as to Pogba’s qualities, with the French international establishing himself as arguably the finest midfielder in the world right now.
But such talent comes at a hefty price – to the tune of around £78m in fact. Are United, and Fergie, willing to swallow their pride and admit that they made a mistake four years ago?
And even if they do, can they convince their former player to turn down Real Madrid and the greatest French player of his generation Zinedine Zidane?
I think there is too much history for United to overcome with Pogba. Plus the lure of Zidane and Madrid is a very difficult one of overcome at the best of times. Here I think it is practically impossible.
Can you see Paul Pogba coming back to Old Trafford?