Paul Pogba from France celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie
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A Curious Case of Pogba

May 2, 2016

(Contribution from Belgianjuventino)

As the 2015/2016 season is fast approaching its end and EURO 2016 is beginning to loom over the world of football, the transfer window in turn is awakening from its slumber. The rumour mill has already started grinding out possible (or absolutely not possible, whatever suits the moment) transfers we can expect in the summer.

Turning our eye to our beloved La Vecchia Signora, one of our players is yet again in the middle of a speculation war. Our French prodigy, Paul Pogba. Will he stay at Juve or will he seek greener pastures?

The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, PSG, United and Chelsea are all reported to be pondering a big money deal for Pogboom. Especially Barcelona is a likely destination, given that Pogba is friendly with Neymar and a fan of Messi. I don’t expect a Premier League return for Pogba, United won’t be willing to spend so much on their former player and Pogba joining any other English team than United seems also unlikely. (Maybe Chelsea, since Conte became coach there?)

The next Juve legend on the rise

The reported value of Pogba varies between 80 and 100+million euros. Pogba himself has a long lasting contract at Juve (2019) and has mentioned he has no desire to leave. He is perfectly happy in Turin. Our management has no intention of cashing in on the player, other than if Pogba wants to leave.

Which would push a possible transfer sum closer to the 100mill sum than the aforementioned 80 million. We also have to consider the influence of a positive/negative EURO campaign. Assuming Pogba and France will at least make it out of the group stage, I expect EURO 2016 to increase Pogba’s value.

So assuming Pogba would bring in 100 million euros, should Juve sell him or not? A tricky case to ponder in the least.

From a financial point of view, selling him for that sum would mean a gigantic profit for Juve. We only paid a training compensation fee for him when we took him from United. We can start dreaming about what players we could lure with that much money to spend. We could get a world class replacement for Pogba and add an elite striker to the squad as well. ( I will not go into names here)

Pogba as a player would be sorely missed however. His influence on the team is not to be downplayed. Paul is a very complete player, brimming with talent and still at such a tender age, you can build a team around him that would last for another 10 years. Who needs money when you already have Pogba in the ranks?!

I took a look at what happened to other teams who sold a key player for an enormous fee. How did they spend it and did they improve the team?

The most expensive player of all time presently is Gareth Bale, who moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid for no less than 100.7million euros. Tottenham splashed this sum on 7 different players, in pursuit of a stronger team. Those seven players were: Roberto Soldado (Valencia), Erik Lamela (Roma), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Vlad Chiriches (Steaua Bukarest), Paulinho (Corinthians), Nacer Chadli (Twente) and Christian Eriksen (Ajax).

Current status:

Soldado: Sold for a loss to Villareal

Lamela: Still present, but has floundered at Tottenham. A shadow of his former self in his first season. He has rediscovered some of his old form this season though, so should not be written off yet.

Capoue: Sold for a loss to Watford and performing well there.

Chiriches: Sold for a loss to Napoli.

Paulinho: Sold for a loss to Guangzhou Evergrande.

Nacer Chadli: Still present and doing a good job. Not outstanding, not bad either.

Christian Eriksen: One of the hottest talents right now, has stepped up and is an immensely important player for Tottenham. Hugely increased in value.

Looking at this, it’s fair to say Tottenham didn’t make the most out of their money. 4 out of the 7 players purchased with the Bale haul of gold have been sold for less money than Tottenham paid for them. Of the remaining 3, only Eriksen has added real quality to the team and is the only player who can be sold for a profit.

Did Tottenham profit by selling Bale? In my view, not really. They have Eriksen, they have Chadli and Lamela, but they wasted the rest of the money.

That other expensive player is the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. He was bought for 97million euros from Manchester United. Curiously, Ferguson decided not to spend the money on a direct replacement. They invested it to relieve debts mostly. Not much to discuss from a sporting point of view, but fast forward to the present and United are struggling badly to get into European football. This has nothing to do with the Ronaldo sale of course, but it suggests they could have spent their money more wisely to prevent this.

They made the mistake of not renewing their squad, not starting a new cycle, until it was already too late. They didn’t give youth a chance( see Pogba!) and had been relying on their veterans for too long. (Sounds familiar, Milan and Inter?) Realising the need for mass renovation United have now begun this new cycle, investing in youth and giving them chances to shine: see Martial, Rashford, Lingard, Memphis etc.. However, results have been hit and miss so far, with United struggling to gain all important champions league football this campaign.

After analysing these two transfers, it’s time to focus on the original subject…

What about Juve eh?! We can all think of a similar case in our own story. He is the player we sold for the highest sum in our history, he is a countryman of Pogba and is currently the Real Madrid coach. Zinedine Zidane!

Zizou in the most beautiful shirt he ever wore…

Comparisons are rife between Pogba and Zidane. Both are French, both are central midfielders, both have technique and creativity that goes beyond imagination and both are simply fantastic footballers.

How did Juve spend the 75 million they received from Madrid and was it money wisely spend?

Zidane was sold and in came the new lads: Gianluigi Buffon(23yo), Pavel Nedved(28yo) and Lilian Thuram(29yo). All 3 of them were a huge success. The Zidane money gave Juve the means to plug some holes in the squad and remain competitive both domestically and in Europe. Juve won 4 Scudetti from 2001 to 2006 and came close to Champions League glory twice.

Buffon is still our goalie, Nedved has become a director for the club and Thuram left us for Barcelona after the Calciopoli scandal.

Lippi – Juventus coach at the time –  admitted they could not find a new Zidane, but the team got stronger after all.

Curiously, if we compare these 3 sales, only Juve really made a step forward selling their most prized asset at the time. Tottenham and United rather lost out by selling their star player, one could argue. Perhaps this is why Marcello Lippi also advises Juve to sell Pogba and reinvest the money?

Spectacularly enough, Lippi backtracked on his own comment recently, advising Juve NOT to sell Pogba:

If we do sell Pogba, the skills of our management to handle the money and invest it well will be vital to the success of the club: spend it on the wrong player(s) and you have given away a superstar for nothing. That being said, I feel confident Marotta & Paratici will spend it wisely, should Pogba be sold.

We should also note that Juve has a penchant for selling a player when the time is ripe to move him on, cashing in a solid return on our investments (such as Zidane and Baggio).

CONCLUSION

Whether or not we sell Pogba, we should look at the potential positives. If Pogba gets sold, he will bring in a gigantic fee for us. With that money we could buy another 3 great players and perhaps repeat the Zidane story. If Pogba stays at Juve, then we get to enjoy watching him play even longer in our colours. He is a class act and still has a lot to offer, is still improving and has potential in spades to be plumbed.

Should Juve sell him? In my opinion, no. I would keep Pogba and I think that will be the scenario. The only reasons for Pogba to leave are either money or a desire for new experiences in a new league and culture.

He is loved by teammates and fans alike, knows the club and league well, loves being here, has been handed the iconic #10 and he will see his salary go up with Juve too.

Are you in favour of a Pogba stay or a Pogba sale? Feel free to discuss below! I’ll be right in there with all you Juve fans!

Yours sincerely

Belgianjuventino

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