In recent years Manchester United have been at the centre of some of the more heavily media-scrutinised transfers. But if David Beckham and Ruud Van Nistelrooy moves to Real Madrid exemplified Fergie’s resoluteness in parting ways with loyal servants that had overstepped the line, and Ronaldo’s departure for the Spanish capital was seen as the sign of Fergie’s ability to conjure another season-winning trophy with his star before letting him leave for a world record transfer-fee, Rooney and Pogba are different cases.
The way their contracts disputes have been handled and the fact that they both play for Manchester United are just about the only two things Pogba and Rooney and have in common but, much as he had done last October when Rooney had threatened to throw his extremely expensive toys out of the pram and leave Old Trafford for good, Fergie played a major role in convincing the French youngster to stay, when a deal with Juventus looked set to be announced.
Had Pogba signed with the Serie A side, United could have missed out on one of the most exciting talents seen in their reserve side for years.
The 19-year-old Frenchman arrived at United three years ago on a transfer sealed in controversial circumstances – Pogba has already built a reputation for himself in this field – after he left Le Havre to join United Academy.
The decision left Le Havre incensed as they had signed a “non-solicitation agreement” with the player and his family in 2006, based on whom the Ligue 1 team would have had priority on Pogba once the agreement expired at the end of the 2009-10 season.
The French club accused United of “tapping-up” Pogba and reported the club to FIFA, claiming that Pogba had joined United following a payment reportedly worth around £87k.
Amazingly, in the French equivalent of pot calling kettle black, according to Pogba’s former club Torcy, the teenager had been lured to Le Havre with the same strategy.
After leaving the controversies behind him, Pogba has proved a real talent since joining United, featuring regularly in the Academy team and in the Reserves after. He was an integral member of the Youth Cup winning side of 2010/11 scoring a real beauty against Portsmouth in the third round and many other tremendous, show-stopping strikes from distance and some impressive displays of trickery and class in the league. He scored one of his best goals against Derby away from home in 2010/11 which you’ll find from 2:02 minutes.
The Premier League seemed only the natural step forward for the Frenchman – hailed by some as the new Vieira – particularly considering United lack of options in the middle of the park.
Despite a cameo appearance against Stoke at the beginning of January, rumours persisted hinting that Pogba had made his mind up, refused a contract and was set to join Juventus.
Fergie has, undoubtedly, played his part again. He was fuming when he heard that Pogba’s agent was trying to engineer a move away for his protege, which would have earned Mr Raiola (the man who also looks after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s interests) a hefty bonus.
The rumours have since gone quiet, unlike the Old Trafford crowd, that gave Pogba a warm welcome as he replaced Paul Scholes against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
That was a sound that Pogba might grow to become familiar with in the future.
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