The complexities behind the Paul Pogba “transfer”

Paul Pogba is not trying to leave Old Trafford.

That’s a bold statement, but it’s the same one I made right after the season, and then again a few weeks later.

I’m sticking with that statement for a few reasons. Primarily because it’s the only one that makes sense. Additionally it’s because I’m aware of how the media is used in the transfer market.

For Pogba it was never about leaving Old Trafford. It was always about money. Pogba’s turmoil with the club, and Jose Mourinho, started right after the club signed Alexis Sanchez and gave him £500k/week in wages.

Over the next season Alexis did less than nothing to earn that price tag while Pogba led United in just about every statistical category and went on to win the World Cup. He deserves to be United’s highest paid player.

Paul Pogba knows he’s not leaving Manchester United nor is he trying to.

A lot was made last week when United’s first team squad reconvened at Carrington without Pogba. Pogba wasn’t due back until this week. When the time came for Pogba to report, he did. Then he got on the plane to Australia for United’s pre-season tour.

Juxtapose that with two other big name European players involved in transfer sagas. Antoine Griezemann defied Atletico Madrid and didn’t report to pre-season training. Neymar did the same when he didn’t report to PSG.

Any transfer for Pogba would be complicated. He’s one of the highest paid athletes in the world and he’s looking for a raise. He’s also extremely limited in where he can go.

When his transfer saga started last fall, the team that was rumored to be interested in him was Barcelona. A few weeks ago, there were reports of him going to PSG. Both of those clubs were non-starters. They were never going to happen for a very simple reason.

Barcelona and PSG are Nike clubs. Paul Pogba is an Adidas player.

This is actually a major deal. Most players, right down to the average ones have regular good old fashioned ‘boot deals.’ Their boots are supplied to them by the shoe companies and they rep those products.

But the top tier elite players have full on endorsement deals with these companies. They rep the company day and night, they’re always wearing their apparel. In football, the amount of players with these kinds of deals is extremely exclusive.

The current list of players with this level of a deal basically amounts to Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, Neymar, and Alex Morgan.

As an Adidas player if Pogba were to go to a Nike club his value to Adidas would fall significantly. They wouldn’t be able to sell authentic Pogba shirts. They wouldn’t be able to post in-game pictures of him. Every time Pogba posts an in-game picture to his personal instagram account, it would be Nike getting value out of that, not Adidas.

(For a greater background on this subject, I recommend reading Daniel Geey’s book Done Deal. It’s not the most thrilling read, but it’s extremely informative on all the complexities that go into every transfer deal.)

Pogba gets a cut of the shirt sales from Adidas. If he signed with a Nike club he’d be losing a large amount of potential income. Since this is all about money, why would Pogba throw away millions?

That leaves just Real Madrid and Juventus (two Adidas clubs) as potential options. Real Madrid could probably afford him, but there’s one problem. Real takes a 50% cut of all their players endorsement earnings. Sure Pogba might be earning more wages, but he’d be losing half of his other income. That would lead to an even further increase in wages which Real probably can’t meet.

Going to Juventus provides the luxury of not having to pay as many taxes in Italy, making Pogba’s take home money even greater. The problem there is that Juventus likely can’t afford to pay the transfer fee and Pogba’s wages. Especially with so much money tied up in Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pogba is simply doing what every player who’s ever wanted a new contract has ever done. He’s playing the media game.

I’ve been following the Premier League pretty religiously for about 15 years now and it still blows my mind how people who have been doing this longer than me still haven’t figured out how the media works.

Players who want to leave their club don’t tell the media they want to leave. If everyone knows your unhappy you lose your leverage and won’t get as good a deal.

You know who wants to leave Old Trafford? Alexis Sanchez does. Romelu Lukaku does. They know they have no future there, but they also know their paid handsomely. If they open their mouth’s and make it look like there’s dissent after just two years at the club, their value will go down.

If Pogba actually wanted to leave, he would have left by now. He’d have to take a pay-cut but if he truly wanted out that would be a small price to pay.

Players that want to leave their clubs don’t say it. They act on it. They cause dissent. They try to force their club into giving them what they want. Griezemann wants to leave Atletico Madrid, Neymar wants to leave PSG.

Paul Pogba showed up.

All Pogba wants is a new contract. Mino Raiola wants another big payday. Pogba wants to be United’s highest paid player. He deserves that.

Manchester United made this mess for themselves when they gave Alexis Sanchez £500k/week.

3 thoughts on “The complexities behind the Paul Pogba “transfer”

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