Whisper it, but Manchester United Football Club may pay some money to sign a footballer today. Yes, it’s taken three months, 800 exclusives and 427,528 devious Instagram posts, but the ever-winding journey of Paul Pogba is about to come full circle. He’s back home, back in Manchester without a Rafael-Park Ji-Sung midfield partnership in sight. Or, as this once understated giant themselves have in no-way shamelessly put it, their prodigal son is #POGBACK.
Say what you want about the fee, debate to your heart's content about his ineffectual performances at Euro 2016, Pogba to Manchester United is the signing, and the story, of this and most other summers.
We know what he thinks about himself.
“I want to become a legend, like Pele or Maradona. Or more than them” Pogba told La Repubblica, as reported by FourFourTwo.
“I’m not trying to say that I’m the strongest, only that I want to be. I may not be among the most beloved players, but that’s not my target. I’m working to be the best.”
Clearly, he’s learned from the best in the rent-a-quote department. Mino Raiola, we’re glaring accusingly at you.
But what do the game’s great managers, pundits and players think about the world’s most expensive footballer?
Ryan Giggs - July 2016
"He's a talented player. He can shoot with both feet, pass the ball with both feet and you don't realise how big he is," the United legend and Pogba’s former team-mate told ITV, reported by the Manchester Evening News.
"Physically he's immense, he's strong, he's quick, and he's got everything. He has got everything."
Patrick Vieira – April 2013
“I believe that he is a better player than I was at his age,” the 107-time capped former France international told RMC, reported by Football Italia.
“He has a great opportunity to have an excellent career. He will be the next great midfielder of the French national team.”
Zinedine Zidane – October 2014
“Maybe we are talking about Pogba a bit too much, but if he can keep up his current development he can become one of the best players ever,” Zidane, formerly the world’s most expensive footbller himself, told L’Equipe, reported by Goal.
Max Allegri – August 2015
“Paul asked for the number 10 in order to have greater responsibility this season. It will be a big responsibility because wearing that shirt is not easy.
“It has been worn by some of the greatest players in the club’s history.”
Michel Platini, Liam Brady, Roberto Baggio, Alesandro Del Piero, Carlos Tevez; Pogba’s coach at Juventus wasn’t wrong, as reported by Gazzetta World.
Alessio Tacchinardi – September 2014
"Pogba is a pure diamond," Tacchinardi, 17 times a trophy winner at Juve, told Corriere dello Sport, reported by Goal.
"He has the ability to make the very complex appear so simple. Before watching Pogba, I had only observed four people with whom I had played like that: Juan Roman Riquelme at Villarreal, Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero at Juventus, and Francesco Totti for Italy.
"There are some midfielders who define an era. This will be the age of Pogba”
Jose Mourinho – July 2015
“I think everybody has an interest in Pogba, but there are things you can do and things you cannot do,” Pogba’s future manager said while at Chelsea, reported by The Telegraph.
“I love the Eiffel Tower but I can’t have the Eiffel Tower in my garden.”
He’d soon get his wish.
Mino Raiola – March 2015
“Look at Basquiat’s paintings and you’ll see so much of Paul in there, that mane, the colours, the fire. He also has a divine calm,” Pogba’s motormouth agent Raiola said to Football Italia, reported by Eurosport
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic was never like that. I always got the feeling I was holding an atomic bomb in my hand.”
Now that extra £30 million, reportedly for all Raiola’s Twitter-bating efforts, makes sense.