A month and a half ago, midfielder Paul Pogba triggered a media frenzy by returning to his former club, Manchester United.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 8, 2016
The transfer fee was so outrageous that it deserves to be stated in three denominations: 89.3 million British pounds — 105 million euros — 116.4 million dollars. Juventus basically bought a B-team with the stack of cash they received for Pogba. You’d assume that all of the best teams in Europe were in for him before Manchester United closed the deal, but the very best actually had to pull their interest.
Barcelona had a “gentlemen’s agreement” with Juventus last summer for first crack at the Pogba transfer, but the player decided to stay in Italy for one last year. This summer, when it became clear that Pogba would be moving, Barcelona were slowly but surely priced out of the move.
Barca’s sporting director addressed this in a press conference a few weeks back:
UEFA and FIFA have to implement a way of regulating [spending]. When Financial Fair Play was created, the Premier League didn’t have as much money as it does now, so it needs to be adapted. It’s not normal that there are such big differences.
If it continues like this, with one club able to spend €120m on one player, it’s going to cost more and more all the time to get the best players. Our most expensive recent signing was Luis Suarez and even then the club had to make economic adjustments.
Albert Soler, via ESPN FC
Someone call a waaah-mbulance, because the best team in the world is whining about not being able to buy any player it wants for a change.
Soler was referencing the huge English TV rights collective deal that pays the clubs’ prize money. Following the conclusion of last year’s Premier League, the top 5 finishers each made around £100 million — Manchester United’s 5th place standing earned them a cool £96.3 million. In comparison, Barcelona earned £122 million from their individual TV deal that leaves money distribution in La Liga criminally top-heavy.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 22, 2015
The reality is that Barcelona, with so many top-level players on a top-level wage bill, simply can’t throw stacks of cash at a player without selling first— looking at you, Messi, Suarez and Neymar.
In this crazed world of ridiculous transfer fees that are becoming the new norm, it’s definitely refreshing that one team can’t poach every emerging talent and achieve world domination.
However, maybe it would’ve been in Barcelona’s interest to make room for Paul Pogba. In his first two games, he hasn’t exactly lit up Manchester just yet, but he has virtually paid for Manchester. Remember, he’s been a United player for little more than a month. His shirt sales alone so far? — £143 million.