'I was more interested in how good Roy Keane was than money' - Rio Ferdinand says Pogba not motivated by cash
Rio Ferdinand has warned that failure for Manchester United in their £100m pursuit of Paul Pogba could do serious damage to their Premier League title chances.
United are locked in negotiations with Juventus and Mino Raiola, the player’s agent, with a reported world-record transfer yet to be agreed between the three parties just three days before the Community Shield clash against Leicester City.
Pogba was allowed to leave Old Trafford on Sir Alex Ferguson’s watch four years ago but Jose Mourinho, the third manager to follow in the Scot’s footsteps, has isolated the France international as the final component of his four-pronged transfer strategy this summer.
Ferdinand, 37, said: “I speak to Paul, I know him. He’s someone for whom it’s all about football. It’s not about money. The biggest thing for me and my own family [upon joining United in 2002] wasn’t the money, it was: ‘What’s Giggsy like? What’s Keane like?’
“Paul’s like that. He loves football. It’s all about improving and being the best. When he left I asked him why and he said: ‘I want to be the best player in the world.’ He’s on the right track. He’s not there yet.”
Ferdinand says the consequences of missing out on Pogba’s signature this summer could dent team morale in Mourinho’s dressing room ahead of the new campaign.
He added: “As a player in the changing room, you’ve been thinking for so long: ‘He’s coming, he’s coming’. If he doesn’t sign it could have an adverse effect mentally on the players in the changing room.
“For a short period of time at least. It’s important they sign him.”
Ferdinand admits the nine-figure sum it would take to sign Pogba just four years after United cut him adrift reflects badly on his former employers but insists they won’t lose too much sleep if they can get back to winning major trophies.
“Of course it isn’t [good value] but, listen, when Chelsea sold [Nemanja] Matic and bought him back for £20m-plus it was the same… it’s bigger than that but it’s still a loss. That’s the way it goes. When he comes it’s just going to be down to the black and white: Will he perform? Will Manchester United win trophies?
“That’s how you get judged. People were saying when I went there that £30m was too much but then we started to win and people now look back and think ‘you know what, it wasn’t that expensive’.
“When you can say you’ve won six Premier League titles in 12 years, it’s okay. If he goes there for £100m and in 10 years he wins five titles and earns £100m worth in shirts sales, you’ll say ‘well done, good business.’”
As the saga continues to rumble on, the initial excitement has become anxiety for Old Trafford regulars as Juventus hold out for a fee which would eclipse the £85m package it took for Real Madrid to lure Gareth Bale away from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.
“Players don’t hold deals up, they either want to go or they don’t,” Ferdinand added. “It’s not the players, it’s the details between the clubs that’s the problem. His personal terms with the club would have been sorted, if they’ve spoken, all them things will be agreed. It’s just about the clubs agreeing little details.”
(© Independent News Service)
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