Sunday 17 December 2017

'They had their trousers taken down paying £100million' - Graeme Souness on Man United's Pogba deal

Paul Pogba rejoined Manchester United last summer
Paul Pogba rejoined Manchester United last summer

Ben Burrows

Graeme Souness has criticised Manchester United's move for Paul Pogba suggesting the world record price tag they paid was way over the odds.

The Frenchman moved back to Old Trafford from Juventus for £89million amid much fanfare but despite flashes has failed to live up to the hefty expectations in his first season back in the English game.

Souness is aware that United are forced to pay a premium for any player such is their stature as a club, but feels Pogba still has work to do to justify such a large outlay.

"United have to pay a premium. For United, stick 25 per cent on the price," he said speaking on Sky Sports. "Because it's Man United and they have the money. In my opinion, they had their trousers taken down paying £100million.

"I'm yet to be convinced by that. He may be a player one day but right now as we sit here after one year in our football, I'm still waiting to be convinced."

United have faced a hectic fixture list this season with Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Southampton a 62nd of what will be a 64-match season.

Manager Jose Mourinho has consistently bemoaned their packed schedule but Souness believes that doing so serves only to give his players an excuse not to perform.

"We've all done it, we've all been there. It's the price on the ticket if you're winning trophies. If you get to the later stages of European cups... you have to deal with [lots of games]. It's nothing new in football," he added.

"Big players have to say to themselves 'I'm not tired.' I mean it, I never ever felt tired. I think what happened if I did feel tired, it would be maybe we'd lost a couple of games and you started to feel sorry for yourself, and that would last a nano-minute.

"The more success we had, I couldn't wait for the next game to come along. The last thing I would want is a manager continuously telling me I'm tired. You're handing an excuse to your players to not play well. I talk from experience. People say the game has changed, but has it changed that much?"

(© Independent News Service)

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