Manchester United are today on the brink of signing Paul Pogba, Mourinho’s number one target for the summer. If those reports are accurate – and United reps are in Italy right now – they’re going to have to do something extraordinary and shatter the world transfer record.
This would be an enormous demonstration of intent from both club and manager, in particular as they’re going up against Real Madrid, who have broken the world record the last five times with moves for Figo, Zidane, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Mourinho has never been scared to spend money, and neither has United but this would be a dramatic re-alignment of football spending power and would send a clear signal to everyone in the English game that the Old Trafford club is back.
The last time an English club broke the world transfer record was back in 1996, when Newcastle shelled out £15 million to buy Alan Shearer from Blackburn. In an era where £30 million moves are now a matter of routine, it’s worth remembering that Madrid set it twice in a single season in 2009 when they paid £56 million and £80 million respectively for Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo. The current record, £85 million for Bale, was set just two years ago.
Now it looks certain to be eclipsed as the world’s biggest spending club and the English giants go head to head over one of the global game’s hottest properties.
I said in an earlier piece that if Pogba chose United over Madrid it would be a huge vote of confidence in Mourinho and the club he’s trying to build.
It looks as if Pogba has made that choice and is about to join the Special One there.
United’s transfer dealings this summer have already been pretty impressive, with Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all signing thus far.
But this is the deal that will put every other signing in the game in the shade, and it looks set to shatter the £100 million mark. It doesn’t even feel right to put those words down.
That kind of money ought never to be spent on a single football player, but this is the crazy era. This is where the game is now.
Manchester United fans, how do you feel about this one?
Is he worth – is anyone worth – that kind of money?