Pogba to join Fabregas and Matic on list of expensive returns

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is reportedly keen to undo perhaps the biggest mistake of his predecessor’s reign by re-signing Paul Pogba to the Red Devils.

The France and Juventus star left Old Trafford after Sir Alex Ferguson opted to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement ahead of promoting Pogba to the first team.

However, Van Gaal has identified the 21-year-old as the ideal man to fill the void in United’s engine room and the Italian giants have named their price, with manager Massimiliano Allegri saying a cool £75m could force his hand.

That fee would certainly set the benchmark for a returning player but United won’t be the only side to have made a huge loss on a player that was already theirs as our top five shows.

Gerard Pique – Loss £5m

Pique’s promise was overlooked at Barca, with a popular story saying Van Gaal himself pushed the then-teenager to the ground to show he didn’t have the strength to succeed at the Nou Camp.

Pique then showed much more potential at Old Trafford after a free transfer but was ultimately used on the fringes of the squad until Barca realised their mistake and paid £5m for his safe return.

Ironically United are now said to be courting the Spaniard’s signature for a second time.

Jermain Defoe – Loss £9m

This entry has everything to do with Harry Redknapp’s love affair with former England striker Defoe.

Harry took the diminutive forward to Fratton Park for £6m in 2008 and after landing the job at White Hart Lane promptly engineered a return to north London for a fee of £15m.

Jordi Alba – Loss £11.2m

Barcelona again failed to see a future for one of their academy players, allowing Alba to leave in 2005.

His work in the interim paid off, however, with a string of solid displays for both Valencia and Spain prompting the Catalan giants to admit their mistake in 2012.

Nemanja Matic – Loss £18m

After two years and just two starts at Stamford Bridge Matic was looking for a new club and was happy to be used as a makeweight in a £3m Benfica deal that saw David Luiz move to west London.

Jose Mourinho kept a close eye on the Serbian however and paid £21m to secure his return in 2014 for a loss of £18m – although when you consider Luiz was shifted for £50m the overall figures don’t look quite so bad.

Cesc Fabregas – Loss £35m

Serial culprits Barcelona once again and this time it’s Cesc Fabregas who slipped through the net of the Catalans youth academy for free only to become one of the most revered midfield operators in the world while at Arsenal.

Once Barca revealed they were interested in his return there was only ever going to be one outcome, but for Arsene Wenger to secure a £35m fee from the club that gave him away this has to be marked down as a shrewd bit if business from the Gunners’ boss.

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