It’s over. It’s finally over. Paul Pogba is officially a Manchester United player, and we can now put an end to one of football’s longest sporting dramas. But despite the world record-breaking £89m deal, history shows a league title may have to wait, at least for a year.
At 00:30 this morning, United confirmed they had signed the Frenchman from Juventus in a deal which broke Gareth Bale’s £85m move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013.
The move will only boost the Red Devils’ chances of reclaiming the Premier League title this season, but a quick trek through time reveals a record-breaking deal isn’t the title-winning guarantee many would have you believe.
Since Alan Shearer waved goodbye to Ewood Park to head home for Newcastle in a then-record £15m deal in 1996, only one world-record signing has won the title in their first season.
The Magpies’ number nine kicked off the trend after a woeful December run saw the Geordie side finish second in 1996-97.
Neither the original Ronaldo – at his sublime peak – nor Christian Vieri could lead Inter Milan to instant league success following world-record deals in 1997 and 1999 respectively.
The anomaly in this world-record list of failure – if you can put it that way – is Luis Figo, who helped steer Real Madrid to the La Liga title in his first season, following a global smashing £37m move from rivals Barcelona in 2000.
Even the great Zinedine Zidane couldn’t help Real defend their title after arriving in 2001, while the same immediate struggles all befell Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in their first year at the Bernabeu.
So the history books don’t point to a first-year league title, and with the bookies placing United second in the betting behind local foes Man City for this season’s crown, it certainly won’t be easy for the Red Devils – even with Pogba on board – to end the world-record breaking streak of first-season suffering.
But the bookies are pretty confident that Pogba and United will click eventually, with 1/2 offered on the reunited partnership landing a Premier League together at anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.