Jose Mourinho had just ended an agonising transfer saga and signed one of the world’s best midfielders in Paul Pogba, but the Manchester United manager couldn’t resist a sly dig at his managerial rivals.
“I know the discussion, I understand that, sometimes in football, things happen and the club breaks the record, but this is only possible at clubs like Man United,” said Mourinho to United’s official website.
“When I heard some of the comments and heard some of the managers criticising that, I don’t think they ever have this problem because, to have this problem, you need to be at one of the top clubs in the world. So at Man United it can happen.”
While one may question how wise stoking the managerial fires during a day of supposed celebration was, it can’t be denied that the Portuguese’s words contain within them some hard, cold truths for the rest of the league.
Paul Pogba’s homecoming was carefully and meticulously planned not just by the club, but by their shirt sponsors Adidas. Both have used both his protracted move and eventual arrival to garner incredible levels of exposure and undoubted financial gain.
While fanciful notions of United paying off Pogba’s fee by selling 50-odd Zlatan Ibrahimovic shirts alone may be wide of the mark, there’s no doubting Ed Woodward and friends are salivating at the potential commercial opportunities that come with prising away one of European football’s most marketable stars.
In some ways summing this up, the announcement was preceded by grime artist Stormzy prematurely releasing an Adidas promotion video featuring both himself and Pogba. Stormz, as I’ve just decided I like to call him, clearly couldn’t wait to press the big red button being a fan of the club himself.
Even United teased the move with an image showing the hashtag #POGBACK before officially confirming the move. This is a far cry from the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, who quite possibly would have murdered someone had this happened on his watch.
But this is a different club now, under the Scot we were always told they were the richest club in the world, never however did they go and prove it in the transfer market, routinely being beaten financially by clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City.
It would seem though, the Forbes top 10 lists are finally starting to reflect reality, with Old Trafford now providing a home for an unmatchable marketing behemoth. A one even the Spanish banks can’t match.
Pogba’s transfer is one that will have wider ramifications than just thrusting Mourinho’s men further into the title mix, it’s a signal to the world that they’re more than ready to flex their financial might.
So, can anyone stop Manchester United? Luckily for everyone else, stacks of money don’t really help on the pitch, in fact you wouldn’t put it past Bournemouth shoving United’s hashtags and promotional video’s right up their #pogbacksides come Sunday afternoon.
But off the pitch, Pogba’s move could represent a watershed moment in not just Premier League football, but worldwide.