NEWS

\nEngland women’s team coach Mark Sampson has been sacked over “inappropriate and unacceptable be...
\nMichy Batshuayi apparently achieved something a number of disappointed footballers have wanted to d...
\nCristiano Ronaldo\'s return for Real Madrid in La Liga went from bad to worse after a late Antonio S...
\nManchester United breezed past Burton Albion in Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, winning 4-1 .\nMarcu...
\n New striker Fernando Llorente has pleaded for time to settle before Tottenham fans judge him. \n Th...
Read More
Manchester-United-v-West-Ham-United-Premier-League-BESTPIX.jpg

Pogba ready to fly, now he’s not weighed down by £89m world-record price-tag

Date Posted,August 15, 2017

For Paul Pogba, the shackles are off now he is no longer burdened by being the costliest player in football history.

Neymar’s £199million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain dwarfed Pogba’s £89m switch from Juventus to Manchester United and has served to liberate the France midfielder.

Before Neymar’s move to PSG, United boss Jose ­Mourinho revealed his hope a new world record fee would be paid this summer to take the pressure off Pogba and allow him to play without being weighed down by his price-tag.

And, speaking at Old Trafford 48 hours after his starring and goal-scoring role in United’s 4-0 rout of West Ham to begin their Premier League campaign, Pogba admitted there is no longer the same focus on how much he cost.

Pogba got in on the fun against West Ham on Sunday with the hosts’ final goal (Image: Getty)

“Your first question now was about football,” said Pogba. “But last season it was about the price — so you can see the difference.”

There were times last season, his first back at United after four years at Juventus, when Pogba seemed to be trying too hard to justify his world record fee, taking on a multitude of roles on the pitch that ultimately ­diluted his overall influence.

But the signing of Nemaja Matic from Chelsea, on the evidence of the win over West Ham, looks to have given Pogba the freedom to express his natural attacking instincts and push forward, where he is most ­effective.

“Against West Ham, Matic was starting behind and I could worry more about attacking,” said Pogba. “I feel good playing that way, but it depends on what the manager wants.

United signing Matic from title rivals Chelsea could be the making of Pogba (Image: AFP)

“Matic was a key player and Romelu Lukaku scored two goals, so it’s what we wanted and what we expect. It was an excellent start to the season. We’ve started well but have to carry on like this.”

Pogba, 24, scored nine goals last season, a ­meagre return for a player of his marauding attacking threat and ability to find the net from open play and dead-ball situations. In mitigation, he hit the ­woodwork nine times, and such ­narrow margins have convinced him he can get close to the 20-goal mark this term.

“If I take penalties!” joked the France midfielder, flashing his trademark broad grin. “I hope to get more goals. I hope this season I won’t touch the post so much.

A frustrating first season back in Manchester saw Pogba hit the woodwork as many times as he scored (Image: Man Utd via Getty)

“I know the occasion will come and I will always create something. But it’s the result for the team that matters. You could score 100 [as an individual player] and not win anything. What matters is winning the Premier League.

“I’m always confident. I always give my best and I know more about the Premier League and I’ve adapted more with the team. When you know the team more, you know how to play alongside them. You get on better. You just get a different feeling.

“You could see against West Ham, everybody was getting along well and playing for each other.”

Pogba clearly feels he has unfinished business with United, having left in 2012 when he was unable to command a first-team place under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Now he is the man around whom Mourinho has built his United team and the player on whom so much depends as the Reds plot their route back to the top.

“My dream was always to play,” said Pogba. “When I finished, I always felt like I’d missed something at Manchester United because I wasn’t a first-team player.

“Now I’m back and I’m happy to be back. I grew up a lot in Italy and I’ve come back as a man.”

* Paul Pogba was speaking at the unveiling of a mural created by world renowned graffiti artist Alec ­Monopoly at Old Trafford.

The mural, which depicts scenes from around the famous stadium, was added to by Manchester United players Pogba, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof.

This ­collaboration was created by TAG Heuer, Manchester United’s official timekeeper and global watch partner .

Back to previous page

payment with

Security