Tuesday 20 February 2018

'Man United are a factory... not a club' - Gerard Houllier criticises €100m Paul Pogba deal

Paul Pogba is back at Old Trafford
Paul Pogba is back at Old Trafford
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier questioned Manchester United’s decision to pay €100m to sign Paul Pogba and suggested the Old Trafford club have become “a factor, not a club” in a stinging assessment of the world record transfer.

United announced their deal to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford four years after he left following a contract dispute in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but his fellow Frenchman Houllier is not convinced the deal works for all parties.

“It’s no longer a club. It’s a factory,” he said of United in an interview with L’Equipe, before he struggled to justify the price tag.

“He’s not going to have €100m games every week,” continued Houllier. “Therefore you have to know his character. Then it depends on the club and the environment. The English want a star.

“The sum involved in the transfer has an inhibiting side,” Houllier said. “It could become a problem depending on the personality of the player, who shouldn’t put himself under pressure in terms of that. That’s why the manager’s discourse is very important.

“Manchester United generate impressive income. €120m over five years? That’s an instalment of €25m per season. It’s reasonable when you have a budget of over €500m. Because Man United carry out purchases or sales every transfer window of around €50m.”

United will argue that they can justify the Pogba transfer due to the vast sums of incoming flowing through their coffers from their 68 sponsors, while their match day revenue from games at Old Trafford is also colossal.

Shirts with Pogba’s name emblazoned on the back are certain to be big sellers in the coming days, with this table confirming United’s current turnover figures means the Pogba transfer is comparable to many of the high profile transfer the club has completed in recent years:

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