Manchester United are reportedly into a deal that would see Juventus' Paul Pogba join the club two years after leaving on a free transfer, but it's a move the Red Devils shouldn't try to pursue during the summer transfer window.
The Guardian's Daniel Taylor revealed the club had been working on bringing the Frenchman back to Old Trafford under former manager David Moyes, with a reported fee of £60 million involved with such a move:
Manchester United have been quoted £60m if they want to persevere with plans to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford two years after his acrimonious departure on a free transfer.
The Observer can reveal that United are not only targeting Kevin Strootman from Roma but have made repeated attempts over the past year to explore whether Juventus would sell them the midfielder at a huge profit. Mino Raiola, the player’s agent, said this week that Pogba was happy in Turin but United’s information is that the France international is open to the idea.
Pogba featured prominently in David Moyes’s plans for a overhaul of the United midfield, with the former manager hoping to bring in at least two high-calibre players. Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich and Cesc Fábregas of Barcelona were the other players on his wish-list and there had been extensive work behind the scenes over a six-month period to explore exactly what it would take to make the moves happen.
Pogba joined the club from French side Le Havre in controversial circumstances, via The Guardian, and his stay with the Red Devils ended in much the same way.
The midfielder's talents were obvious from the moment he first put on the iconic red-and-white kit of United, but given his young age, Alex Ferguson wanted to be patient with his young diamond in the rough.
During his last season at Old Trafford, the club was in need of a strong presence in the centre of the pitch, but despite the player's consistent performances in the youth setup, Ferguson thought it unwise to call him up to the senior side on a frequent basis.
Pogba voiced his concerns with a lack of playing time on multiple occasions, and at the end of the season, he left for Italian giants Juventus. At the time, fans seemed to be squarely in Ferguson's corner, calling out the youngster for his perceived arrogance and lack of patience.
But the French international quickly established himself as one of the world's biggest talents when given playing time in Turin, shining a new light on the situation.
Yes, Pogba could have shown more patience during his time in England, but he was clearly already so far in his development that his frustration at a lack of playing time while United's midfield struggled was perhaps understandable. Pogba knew he couldn't just help out—he had the potential to dominate at the position at the tender age of 18.
In Turin, he was worked into the star-studded Bianconeri midfield slowly by coach Antonio Conte. By the end of the season, Italian international Claudio Marchisio had to take a back seat to the powerful Frenchman.
Pogba is a freak of nature, the kind of player coaches would draw up when asked to describe the perfect midfielder. He's big, strong and athletic, his technique is practically flawless, and he's already one of the world's best long-distance shooters.
He looks almost casual darting around the pitch, as if it's all too easy for him. During the 2013-14 season, Juventus even used him out on the wing, and incredibly enough, he displayed the kind of speed you'd expect from a pint-sized winger.
Unsurprisingly, every major team in Europe wants a piece of the player pundits are already calling a future Ballon d'Or winner. Paris Saint-Germain have been courting Pogba since January, and via Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson, Tuttosport revealed their latest bid of €50 million was rejected:
Pogba is a god in France and Italy—in Manchester, he's still that spoiled little brat who didn't know his place. While there are undoubtedly plenty of fans who would welcome him back with open arms, sections of the fans will want nothing to do with him.
Represented by the controversial Mino Raiola, Pogba will literally always be on the market. The Italian has made a living off moving clients like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli around, and in Pogba, he has his next big score.
But United makes little sense for the youngster. Pogba has spent the last two years complaining about his last year at Old Trafford, and his comments only got harsher as time passed.
In his mind, the last time he wore red, he didn't play, even though he should have. The team didn't respect him enough then, so why would things be different this time?
At Juventus, he is surrounded by superstar talent in midfield with Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal. There are only a handful of clubs who can offer Pogba a better situation, and as of right now, United aren't one of them.
PSG are most often associated with a move for the youngster, and they have both the talent needed to convince Pogba he'd be better off in his native France and the financial means to propose a deal.
What do Juve and PSG have in common that the Red Devils don't have? Champions League football. Pogba has an ego. Otherwise he wouldn't have left Manchester in the first place. Giving up the chance to play on the biggest stage for a return to the team you left for a lack of playing time simply makes no sense.
Sure, United can try to convince the player things will be different this time. But Pogba has no reason to come back to Manchester, and the Red Devils have very little they can offer.