Paul Pogba’s move to Manchester United has dragged on longer than probably any other transfer in the history of the sport. The 112 million pound move is set to break Gareth Bale’s record for most expensive transfer fee in football history but as of right now a deal is still not done for the midfielder. No footballer really should be bought for that much money but Manchester United are seemingly willing to pay the ridiculous fee. Instead of Paul Pogba, these 11 players combined could have been bought by the Red Devils at the time of their transfers for that exact same price of £112 million.
*Including transfers from January 2014 to August 2016.
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas (Levante -> Real Madrid, £7.9 million)
Keylor Navas cost Real Madrid just 7.9 million pounds back in 2014 after he impressed at the FIFA World Cup. Coming in as Iker Casillas’ replacement was always going to be a daunting task, but he’s lived up to his high expectations and even helped Real Madrid win the UEFA Champions League last season by conceding just 3 goals in 11 games! At £7.9 million, Navas was an absolute steal and has gone on to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Although a goalkeeper is not a top priority for United, I’d still probably rather have 14 Keylor Navas’ than one Paul Pogba.
Right Back: Dani Alves (Barcelona -> Juventus, Free)
Although he’s aging and is 34 years old now, Dani Alves is still one of the best fullbacks in the world and with right fullback being probably the one position Manchester United need to have a look at the most, the Brazilian defender would have been an excellent signing for the club had they tried to lure him over. At the price of free, all the better.
Centre Back: Toby Alderweireld (Southampton -> Tottenham Hotspur, £11.5 million)
Toby Alderweireld was the best defender in the Premier League last season and if Manchester United had tried to sign the Belgian international rather than Tottenham Hotspur, the two clubs could have easily switched places in the table. Toby Alderweireld is that good and at the price of just £11.5 million he was an absolute bargain for the Spurs. Manchester United could have bought 10 Alderweireld’s for the price of Pogba.
Left Back: Christian Fuchs (Schalke 04 -> Leicester City, Free)
Despite missing out on the PFA Team of the Year, Christian Fuchs was the best left back in the Premier League in 2015-16 playing a crucial role in Leicester City’s title win. A large part of Leicester’s title win last season was the fantastic recruitment they did during the summer and getting Christian Fuchs for free was one of the best moves they made all season. Although left back is also not a top priority for United, Luke Shaw does have a lot of trouble with injury and the Austrian defender would have at least had a massive role to play at the club last year if nothing else.
Defensive Midfield: N’Golo Kante (Leicester City -> Chelsea, £32 million)
N’Golo Kante was a fantastic pickup by Leicester City last season and was one of their most important players, if not the most important of all, in their title win. After a stunning season in which he led all of Europe in tackles and interceptions in league play, he decided to make a move to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea for £32 million. Manchester United could have easily offered half of the money that they are willing to pay for Paul Pogba in order to sign N’Golo Kante but instead made no attempt at all. For £112 million both Manchester United and Chelsea could have signed 3.5 N’Golo Kante’s, which probably would have been more than enough needed to win the league.
Centre Midfield: Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich -> Real Madrid, £24.9 million)
When Toni Kroos decided to move from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid back in 2014, it was a very surprising move, especially because the German club let him go for just under 25 million pounds! Although it’s unlikely that Kroos would have wanted to join United over Madrid at the time, I’m sure if the Red Devils had offered up half of what they are now willing to pay for Pogba that Bayern Munich would have rather sold him to the English club than the Spanish giants. It’s pretty unlikely that no central midfielder as good as Kroos will ever be sold for that low of a price ever again and it was an absolute bargain at the time. Back in 2014, United could have bought 4 and a half Toni Kroos’ for the same price as the modern day Paul Pogba. One Toni Kroos bossing the midfield is already better than one Paul Pogba bossing the midfield, but 4 and a half Toni Kroos’ bossing the midfield would have been just out of this world.
Right Attacking Midfield: Hatem Ben Arfa (OGC Nice -> Paris Saint Germain, Free)
Hatem Ben Arfa’s time in the Premier League didn’t work out exactly as according to plan the first time around, but at the price of absolutely free, United could have easily tried their luck in bringing him back to the country. Being one of the trickiest and best dribblers in the world and having the ability to change a game on the drop of a dime, I can’t emphasize enough how much Ben Arfa could add to United’s current set-up and how much of a bargain getting him for the price of free is for Paris Saint Germain.
Left Attacking Midfield: Dimitri Payet (Marseille -> West Ham United, £10.7 million)
Obviously he would cost more today, but just over a year ago, West Ham United secured the signature of Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet for just under 11 million pounds. I’m willing to bet that Manchester United could have paid even less than that had they wanted to sign Payet and Marseille and the French midfielder would have agreed to the deal. The 29 year old absolutely could have been the difference maker for United last season and with him in their side they would have definitely finished in at least the top four. Last year, the Red Devils could have bought 10 Dimitri Payet’s for the 2016 price of Paul Pogba. 10 Dimitri Payet’s all on the field together might have made United the worst defensive team in the league, but at least Louis Van Gaal would have never been called boring!
Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund -> Bayern Munich, Free)
Robert Lewandowski’s deal to Bayern Munich was done almost a year before he actually joined the club so it’s unlikely that United would have been able to convince the Polish striker to join, but if they had offered that 112 million pounds that they are now willing to pay for Pogba, Borussia Dortmund would have sold him and Manchester United probably would have won a title by now.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint Germain -> Manchester United, Free)
Besides the ridiculous fee for Paul Pogba, Manchester United have had a very good summer transfer window and have brought in a lot of top class players at very reasonable prices. The poster boy for all of the new signings they have made so far though has to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish striker broke Ligue 1’s record for most goals scored in a single season last year as he netted 38 times in just 31 league matches! Now he moves to Manchester United for the price of FREE and could go on to win another golden boot. This is a fantastic deal by Manchester United and it begs the question: why do they have to pay such a hefty price for a 23 year old when they were able to sign one of the greatest footballers of all time for free? It makes no sense if you ask me.
Striker: Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad -> Atletico Madrid, £25 million)
After lighting up Euro 2016 and winning the Golden Boot and Best Player awards with ease, I’m nearly certain that if you asked any Manchester United fan who they’d rather sign between Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba that they would say Greizmann. Not only would the 25 year old cost probably half as much, but he’s also just a better player and would have more of an immediate effect on the team. Atletico Madrid paid just 25 million pounds for the French forward back in 2014 and he’s since gone on to score 57 goals in 107 matches for the club. Manchester United probably could have convinced the Sociedad player to join their club at the time and at 25 million he would have been one of their best buys ever. If Manchester United had bought Antoine Griezmann back in 2014, they could have bought him 4.5 times for the same price that they are now willing to pay for Paul Pogba.
If you ask me, I’d rather Manchester United have bought all of these players for 112 million than Paul Pogba. I’d at least rather have 3 and a half N’Golo Kante’s if nothing else! The team below is probably not only good enough to win the Barclays Premier League but it’s probably also good enough to win the UEFA Champions League! In contrast, the Juventus midfielder on his own, is nowhere near good enough for that. We’ll have to wait and see if Paul Pogba’s 112 million pound deal ultimately does go through but in the mean time we just have to wonder why transfer fees such as the one for this French midfielder, as fantastic as he is, have become so ridiculous.
So there it is, a best xi of players that Manchester United could have bought for £112 million in the last two years! Don’t be afraid to check out more awesome posts like this right here, on The Mastermind.