Jul 3, 2015

What It Says About Football if Pogba Goes To Man City

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When, as young boys or girls, we dreamed of playing professional football, the chances are that most of us dreamed of playing for the same teams.  Aside from our local team (or whatever team our families made sure we were brainwashed into following), I bet most of you reading this will have thought of the same list of ‘footballing royalty’ for whom it would be a dream come true to play.  I am, of course, talking about the likes of Ajax, AC Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.  It’s natural that there would be some variation in this list – the 1990s made up the majority of my childhood and so there were some clubs who achieved that dream-like status for me, such as Borussia Dortmund and Parma, who have since faded – but, in the main, the glamour clubs remain timeless and aren’t defined by era.

You would think therefore, that 22 year-old Paul Pogba would be relishing the thought of playing for any of the clubs listed above.  Indeed, it could even be argued that, in Juve, he’s already playing for one of the European elite, a team who look on their way back to the top after a more than tumultuous decade.  The young Frenchman is the hot topic of the transfer world this summer, with almost all of the above clubs having been linked with securing his services in recent weeks.  According to recent reports, Barca are front runners for his signature but there is another, potentially more disappointing option that seems to remain open to the former Manchester United player.

That option is Manchester City.  When I describe it as disappointing, I don’t mean for Pogba, I mean for the rest of us.  There’s no doubt that City could blow any of the other competition out of the water when it comes to finances, with the transfer fee needing to exceed £70 million to prize the midfielder from Turin, if reports are to be believed.  But what would Pogba going to Man City really mean for the world of football?  When the true greats of the game are offering the youngster everything he could wish for, why would he choose to go to the Etihad instead?

The answer is simple – money.  I’m not naive – most players are driven by money in what can be a short and fleeting career – but when the calibre of clubs chasing Pogba face being snubbed by a club with so little history in comparison, where does that leave us?  If Pogba went to Barca, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, for example, he’d be guaranteed domestic titles and being part of the challenge to secure the Champions League.  Even in England, it could be argued there are better options available to him, with Chelsea possibly proving more likely to secure silverware under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho.  And let’s face it, even if finances were Pogba’s primary motivation, he’d hardly be on the bread line at any of these clubs.

The possibility that Pogba could end up playing for the blue half of Manchester, turning down the great and good of European football in the process, would only confirm what so many of us have feared about the game of football.  Where tradition, passion and ambition to win prizes once drove the world’s top players, a transfer of this kind would make the strongest statement yet that financial gain is becoming the main motivating factor for today’s young prodigies.  We don’t even need to look further than our own shores to see a prime example of this – Raheem Sterling’s contract dispute with Liverpool has been well documented.  There is, of course, the argument that the young England international turned down £100,000 a week for reasons more than money, but with little evidence of a feasible alternative as to why he would turn down such a deal, many can’t help but think this is just the latest example of a young player not knowing when he ‘has it good’ and being satisfied to be playing regularly for one of Europe’s top clubs.

As well as seeing the rise of some lesser known clubs, the money-driven nature of the game has had the opposite effect for some of football’s traditional ‘big clubs’.  Leeds United, AC Milan, Rangers and Parma are amongst the names of teams who, having enjoyed prolonged periods of success, find themselves with little money, in lower league positions and, in the cases of some, facing administration or worse.  While the influx of billionaire owners has seen certain clubs thrive in places such as Russia and the Middle East, as well as a select few in Europe, those clubs who once sat at Europe’s top table have struggled to keep up, doing themselves serious damage when they even so much as try.

So, this begs the question – does Paul Pogba potentially signing for Man City mean football is heading in the wrong direction?  For me – it does.  I’m all for smaller clubs upsetting the apple cart, challenging the status quo and continuing to make football the exciting and unpredictable game we love.  But it should be done by more honest means – by hard work and tactical nous, with a little bit of luck thrown in.  That’s exactly how the traditionally great clubs in world football built the reputations on which they so proudly stand today.  I may be being idealistic, of course.  We may already be past the point of no return, where TV deals, bonus-based contracts and lucrative endorsement deals are king, but there is part of me that believes that there are young players today who would still put prestige and glory in the form of medals ahead of a few extra million in the bank.  One thing is for sure – no matter where Paul Pogba goes in the rest of his career, he will retire a very rich and still-relatively-young man but the silverware and the success are the real variables.  Signing on the dotted line for Barca, Real or Bayern would prove football means more than money to Pogba and I, for one, truly hope that turns out to be the case.


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Manchester City · Transfers

Some interest in writing. A lot of interest in football.

Comments to What It Says About Football if Pogba Goes To Man City

  • Todays football is driven by money….Real barca bayern manu….whichever teams history you want to tell me they dominate football bcoz of money…there history doesn’t help them there…so what problem you’ve got when city does the same…invest to build a team…is football the oligarchy of those 3-4 clubs according to you that only they will sign the best players and only they will win…fortunately its not…nd if pogba moves to city I don’t think it will any wrong for football or for him…he’ll play for one of the best team in the world… Challenge for trophies at domestic and European level…nd train in the best facilities in the world…so that would be enough for him I guess…nd I don’t care if you believe it or not…But the likes of aguero and silva does…nd they prove it everytime when your so called big teams come calling for them and they reject it everytime..

    Ketan D Pawar July 3, 2015 12:35 pm
  • Rather win first Champions League with City then just another meaning less one for FIFA/UEFA corrupt clubs like Barca or Madrid. Italian football is a disgrace, full of match fixing. Premier League is the best by miles in the world because its honest and the most competive. Yaya Toure and Viera are Pogba’s idols. Plus he gets to play alonside Aguero, Silva Kompany etc in a club thats getting bigger and will eventually be the biggest in a few years. Its already one of the biggest today. Do players play for free for those clubs mentioned, Real and Juve etc? No they also get paid obscene amounts. Idiot.

    Andrew Stack July 3, 2015 12:37 pm
  • Pretty absurd assessment really that wouldn’t even have held water several years ago, even before City had won league titles and been a consistent Champion’s League entrant. Now players coming to City can have the high wages, they’d get at the likes of United and Real Madrid, along with a realistic chance of winning major titles.

    And, yes, you are being idealistic – the landscape of football today has nothing in common with the 30-60 year old’s childhood dreams of playing for the top clubs. The children of today will be dreaming of playing for City and Chelsea in the same way those of the 70s and 80s would’ve dreamt of playing for Milan, Ajax, Real Madrid etc. Like it or not, these days it’s impossible to compete at an elite standard without having an elite commercial engine that generates massive revenue, in order to supplement massive TV deals. This isn’t City’s fault so stop making them a target for all that’s wrong with football. City are simply a club that (just about) managed to break into the party before unfair FFP slammed the door shut in a clumsy and desperate attempt to preserve the rotten status quo.

    If you want a target, look to the greedy cartel that wanted to lock out, and financially out muscle, everybody else. They created the context that we now must all deal with.

    Goatfacekillah July 3, 2015 12:40 pm
  • and I’d also add, what did it say about football when Yaya Toure joined City 5 years ago? Worked out pretty well I’d say, for club and player.

    Goatfacekillah July 3, 2015 12:44 pm
  • An article obviously scribbled down on what during the season would have passed time away on her train journey between Euston and Piccadilly, Laura’s tired jibes about little clubs and no history show her up as either a one eyed bitter bandwagon follower or just another appallingly ignorant plastic who believes football was invented by Sky.

    I know she’s obviously worried about Pogba playing for City, but that doesn’t excuse her holding the clubs she mentioned as some sort of elite that have always been there and entitled to whichever players they want. Before waffling on about history she really should brush up on the subject.

    steelwheelsandflattyres July 3, 2015 1:05 pm
  • Bla bla bla – naïve in the extreme – Do you know what history means? I fear not. My advice would be to give up on the writing.

    Simon Clark July 3, 2015 1:26 pm
  • I would comment more comprehensively but your argument has already been thoroughly dismantled by Ghostfacekilla. But I will add this. City were founded in 1880. Juventus 1897. Barcelona and Milan, 1899, Ajax and Bayern, 1900, Real Madrid 1902. City have more history than all those clubs. A club’s history is about people and players and communities. Not just trophies. Left-wing football, indeed. You’re a hypocrite.

    Mari July 3, 2015 1:49 pm
  • poor rag stuck in the 90s keep your history the future is ours

    silver July 3, 2015 1:54 pm
  • Bore off.

    “I’m all for challenging the status quo as long as the status quo isn’t challenged. I like small clubs upsetting the apple cart, but the small clubs really shouldn’t be allowed to…”

    So the big players should only sign for the big clubs of the 80’s/90’s? Pogba to Milan? De Bruyne to Ajax? Messi to fucking Leeds? Are you pissed? Things change, my friend. Deal with it.

    Yet another ‘ Manchester City/Chelsea/PSG/etc destroy football’ blog (no, this cannot be described as a ‘piece’ or an ‘article’). It’s all just so boringly unoriginal.

    Adam Woods July 3, 2015 1:56 pm
  • @WeeMan88 can you be any more bitter?

    Hatter Blues Hatter Blues July 3, 2015 1:59 pm
  • @WeeMan88 Jesus wept

    David David July 3, 2015 1:59 pm
  • @WeeMan88 What a load of nonsense. Places in league last 4 years 1-2-1-2, Pep probably manager next season. Terrible ‘article’

    Nip Holmes Nip Holmes July 3, 2015 2:13 pm
  • Wow so your like the John Snow of bloggers.

    Guy July 3, 2015 2:18 pm
  • @WeeMan88 yes you are naive writing the Pogba article “footballing royalty” “great and good of Europe” – old hat rhetoric !!

    Bob Bob July 3, 2015 2:20 pm
  • Hang on a sec. 2 issues I have with the this. Firstly on the one hand it isn’t fair that City have muscled in thanks to money, but in the other hand clubs have thrown money at it and ended up almost destitute- eg Leeds United.
    So maybe it’s that City have had to apply a degree of tactical nouce etc… for it to start bearing fruit? And it’s not “just” the money…

    Secondly, look into the history of any major club and you will see a history of benefactors, alleged corruption (or certainly episodes which point to such) and dubious access to success.

    Bayern Munich have basically monopolised their league so badly it’s a one horse race won by March.

    It’s a nice stick to beat City with but we are an effect, not a cause, and had their been “financial fairness” in a greater distribution of the wealth in the game 20 years ago, maybe the finances in the game may not be so distorted now.

    Blueste July 3, 2015 2:27 pm
  • Pretty sad that City fans can’t accept the truth; Manchester City is a nothing club which happens to be owned by a billionaire as a plaything. Not a big team, not a famous club outside England.

    Accept your place in the footballing world. It’s better than most have.

    Baw Claw July 3, 2015 2:30 pm
    • The truth is Manchester City have been champions of England twice in the last four seasons.. You sad pathetic deluded plastic

      Moxn July 4, 2015 2:50 am
    • So the 2012 & 2014 EPL Champions, who have not been out of the top 3 for the past 5 years and are the 5th wealthiest club in world football whilst still holding the record attendance in England outside of Wembley are a ‘nothing club’?

      It would seem that you know the square root of sweet FA about the new world order. You really ought to stick to commenting about films and Scottish football (which really should accept it’s place in the footballing world).

      84,569 July 4, 2015 10:12 am
  • This is an absolutely outrageous article.

    “the glamour clubs remain timeless and aren’t defined by era.” – how are you permitted to even post statements like this? Your obvious bias or affiliation to one of these ‘glamour’ clubs can’t be concealed.

    Investment – are you really suggesting that the inflow from a wealthy benefactor is detrimental to the game? That a model dependent on debt and borrowings is better? If so, you should consult some accountants for advice. They will confirm in all of 2 seconds that equity is preferable to debt. Take a look at the balance sheets of your special clubs and compare to that of City’s. You’ll find some alarming differences – and they don’t point to City.

    History – you very clearly haven’t done your homework. How far back do you have to go to qualify as history? The statistics will tell you that City have perpetually pulled in some of the biggest supporter crowds for well over a century now. The trophy run may have been dry since 1976 but so was the case for Chelsea and even United before some investment came in to allow for resource rejuvenation.

    Wages – City’s wage bill is in fact in line with many of the clubs you mention and for the same calibre of player. Wayne Rooney on £300,000 per week but Sergio Aguero doesn’t even command such figures – let’s put things in perspective.

    Ambition – City has grown astronomically in the past 5 years (both on and off the pitch) and that is why we can bargain for players of Pogba’s calibre and coaches like Pelligrini and potentially Guardiola. We have finished in the top two for the last 4 consecutive seasons domestically and our Champions League performance (whilst not up to expectation) has improved. We are prime challengers for domestic and European titles – more so than most other clubs in England. How stupid to suggest a player lacks ambition for joining City – will this still be the case in 10 years when we look back on our trophy cabinet?

    Articles like this are inflammatory and devoid of proper research. When the graduates of the City football academy (the top of its kind in the UK after our owner’s community investment) arrive on the global scene, I hope they read your article and think twice – they could’ve joined a ‘glamour’ club.

    Grant Leyland July 3, 2015 2:32 pm
  • “Some interest in writing. A lot of interest in football.”

    Got that the wrong way round I beleive.

    This kind of blog does women football supporters and those with the aspiration to become football journalists or commentators a total diservice. It is so far wide of, well any mark and displays an astonishing ignorance of anything and everything football.

    The blogger clearly has no concept of how the real football supporter thinks or feels about the game as a whole and is shocking in its nieviety.

    ianlowe50@yahoo.com July 3, 2015 9:45 pm
  • WHOA Whoa whoa…

    Ostrich female sport writer?

    Did you know that Ostriches have a ‘selective brain mechanism’ Go figure

    Moxn July 4, 2015 4:50 am
  • @WeeMan88 dreary me what a load of old tosh!

    Marko Marko July 4, 2015 11:34 am
  • Wow, this article takes jealousy to a different level. I guess those footballing greats clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid etc never had the phase where they had just started and were no where in terms of winning leagues and stuffs. I guess those footballing great clubs never had INVESTMENTS (a.k.a Money that you keep mentioning of) that help them secure all these titles they have won. It’s not like they all started winning things from the very first year of their inception.

    So according to your article and you new clubs or clubs with recent limelight are not allowed to have their share in the limelight? I suppose every trophy and league in the world should already be given to the already popular clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern etc.
    In fact might as even write their name on the trophies for infinite years in the future since according to you the other clubs have no right.

    Shiva Chettri July 4, 2015 11:37 am
  • @WeeMan88 trolling…

    levy blue levy blue July 4, 2015 12:21 pm
  • so the logic here is the same handful of clubs should get the best players and win everything till the end of time?

    Andrew Mercer Andrew Mercer July 4, 2015 1:31 pm
  • @WeeMan88 Everyone should join so-called ‘big’ clubs then? No joy in Blackburn winning PL, Wimbledon FA Cup, Forest 2 ECs?

    Adam Salkie Adam Salkie July 4, 2015 1:36 pm
  • @WeeMan88 What if player joins & is part of club becoming established elite? More ambition, courage than going for guaranteed?

    Carla Mayers Carla Mayers July 4, 2015 3:07 pm
  • @WeeMan88 if he wanted money he would’ve stayed at United. Shit opinion

    #RIPBAEYATA #RIPBAEYATA July 4, 2015 3:19 pm
  • @WeeMan88 Lets cancel the season & just award Utd the trophy, LFC 2nd & AFC 3rd. For get the whole point of competition.

    Mr. Aguia Mr. Aguia July 4, 2015 5:49 pm
  • I think the author should have a read of this…. https://wehavenohistory.wordpress.com/a-right-of-reply/

    Daniel July 4, 2015 7:16 pm
    • Has no idea what he’s talking about does that lad.

      BlueWolf July 4, 2015 8:40 pm
  • Well, this is a train wreck. There are already enough posts about how wrong this whole ‘piece’ is. So let me just add this:
    I had no clue this site existed, so this thing achieved something. But if this is the quality needed to get something ‘published’ on here, then I won’t be back.

    This is just fractally wrong. It really is.

    jansen0815 July 4, 2015 9:28 pm
  • @WeeMan88 the most appalling bit of football snobbery I’ve ever read….sickening

    carole carole July 6, 2015 4:31 pm
  • @MoonbeamMcfc @WeeMan88 i read this the other day Pathetic ignorant “no football existed pre 92” nonsense #mcfc

    James Berkefeld James Berkefeld July 6, 2015 4:32 pm
  • @MoonbeamMcfc seriously the biggest crock of shit ever posted on Twitter Ask RVP what hes won at United and nasri what he has !

    darren darren July 6, 2015 4:46 pm
  • @MoonbeamMcfc @WeeMan88

    Can’t believe you’ve reposted this shite. You’re either fishing or incredibly stupid.

    Yoda Bong Yoda Bong July 6, 2015 4:50 pm
  • @MoonbeamMcfc @WeeMan88 Protect the old Elite few,you should work for UEFA with that attitude

    Steven morrow Steven morrow July 6, 2015 4:50 pm
  • @WeeMan88
    What shit! The richest clubs always have got best players.
    And therefore won trophies.
    Why is it wrong for @MCFC?

    phil phil July 6, 2015 5:03 pm
  • @WeeMan88 What a load of tripe.don,t give your day job up!

    joe pellegrini joe pellegrini July 7, 2015 7:34 am
  • @WeeMan88 $€£¥

    Spurs Guy Spurs Guy July 7, 2015 10:45 pm