Paul Pogba's value has rocketed without him doing anything

Transfer fee's spiralling and his absence through injury means Pogba's stock has risen considerably without him kicking a ball.

Paul Pogba's value has rocketed without him doing anything
Paul Pogba presenting an MTV award with actress Natalie Dormer (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

When Manchester United paid Juventus a reported £89.3million world record transfer fee to sign Paul Pogba, it shook the football world.

It was generally considered to be way over the odds for his value, and the fact that he had left United four years earlier for a pittance only fuelled the cynicism.

United did pay over the odds. Speculatively, you could say around £20million too much. However, anybody that thought United had been hoodwinked had probably not been paying much attention for the last few years.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, they had been trying desperately to make a significant signing or signings. They would have broken the world record to sign Gareth Bale had he not chosen Real Madrid.

United bought 'Brand Pogba'

United willingly went the extra mile for Pogba. Gonzalo Higuain signed for Juventus before the Pogba deal, and he went for around €90 million (around €13 million less than Pogba). That was astronomical but after Pogba came to United it was hardly a talking point.

Higuain wasn't the world's most expensive footballer. Pogba was. Forget footballing ability, United paid the extra for advertising. Paul Pogba is news. He has a high profile and demands column inches.

Signing Pogba was key to United's rebuilding process, but it was also key that his global appeal helps with selling the odd shirt or two. The fanfare that greeted his return belonged in Hollywood.

It is a good indication of where modern day football is. It is hugely ironic that David Beckham, one of the greatest United players of his and many other generations, was in part shown the door because of his outside activities.

Yet now, United especially see that as a good thing.

Ballpark has changed

Anyone that scoffed at the fee United paid can no longer scoff. United would more than likely recoup anything they paid in excess of his football value anyway, but thanks to Paris St Germain, they hit the jackpot.

When PSG signed Neymar Jr from Barcelona they changed the landscape forever. €222 million. More than double what United paid, and in an instant Pogba's value went through the roof. Nobody would suggest he is worth more than Neymar, but he is no longer worth £89.3 million.

Added to that, Barcelona, in their desperation, paid €105 million for Ousmane Dembele. Dembele is talented, but Barca were desperate and paid purely for potential, no more. Pogba is considerably more valuable than Dembele.

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Pogba is a player

So United struck gold, but what did they actually buy? They bought a fantastic player, who has won numerous titles in his short career. Forget the marketing, Pogba had a reputation for his ability also.

Yet after his first season back at Old Trafford, just like his transfer fee, his footballing influence was called into question.

Despite having helped United to two major trophies, including scoring in the Europa League final against Ajax, he was heavily criticised at times.

He produced some wonderful displays, most noticeably against Feyenoord in a Europa League group game, but it is fair to say his influence wasn't as strong as may have been expected.

The transfer fee probably had a lot to do with that, but playing in virtually every game and part of a team that enjoyed success, the criticism was possibly a little over the top.

He didn't set the world alight, but he created more chances than any other United player during last season. Yes, he played in England briefly before, but there was still an adjustment to be made. The price tag offered no leniency it seems.

So with the Neymar transfer, maybe a monkey was lifted off his back. United started this season like a house on fire. And Pogba was at the heart of everything good, scoring two goals in the first two games.

United came a little unstuck in the away game at Stoke, but with Nemanja Matic allowing Pogba more freedom, then there was every likelihood that Pogba would be hugely influential this season.

Injury struck in the first Champions League game against Basel, and whilst United did continue scoring freely, after the Liverpool game they have gone into their shell somewhat.

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No real replacement

Pogba's absence has a bearing on that. Marouane Fellaini has proved an adequate replacement when he has started, but he has had his own injury problems. Ander Herrera is a fantastic player, but he is struggling to replicate his feats of last year.

Michael Carrick is a completely different player who provides a platform for others, but he has also been unavailable, so without kicking a ball Pogba's worth to United on a football field has been highlighted.

It is not conceivable that United's ambitions are reliant on Pogba, but it is clear that they are greatly enhanced with him in the team.

His value is beyond question anymore.