Date: 28th February 2012 at 9:43pm
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Control is a funny thing.

One does not realise how little he has of it until it’s all gone. As supporters we like to imagine we have some control over how things proceed at our beloved club. Most of this supposed authoritative primacy is imaginary and illusory. The level of controversy surrounding how much control the club has over its academy players has come under an incredible amount of scrutiny for a few players that have done largely nothing for Manchester United.

Ravel Morrison’s departure to West Ham has been well-documented and theorised about as much as the Kennedy Assassination. Either it was that Morrison was just too much trouble or that United did not handle his penchant for petty crime as well as they had attempted to manage his undoubted talent. Ultimately it is probably a mixture of the two but in the dogmatic world of sport journalism there is little room for nuance.

Analogies are important tools of understanding, but I find that unfortunately in the cases of Paul Pogba and Ezekiel Fryers, the Morrison analogy does not fit. The talk surrounding Morrison, while in part being about the wages he was supposedly demanding, was more related to his off field issues than to anything he did as a member of United’s youth and reserve teams. But with Pogba and Fryers, wages and ultimately the club’s control over their futures remain inextricably tied.

Unfortunately in the day and age wherein football clubs have become the playthings of zillionaires no club is immune to the money over everything mentality plaguing the sport. The wages a player receives trumps things we supporters glorify like loyalty and service. And no matter what influential figures like Sir Alex Ferguson say or do, there is little that can be done in the short term to help reverse this trend. United are certainly not saints in this respect paying out wages to players that lesser teams could never afford. And for every player United pilfer from financially weaker teams there will be another (or in this case, the same) player that will want to leave United for better wages and a better shot at the limelight.

Naturally, there are players that United has produced from its academy of late that have prioritised their love of the club over potential opportunities elsewhere. Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck being the most obvious of that ilk. But if one looks at it, their willingness to remain at the club is not all down to their ‘love of United.’ Both players were obviously promised key roles in the team this season and Welbeck’s ascendence to the second preferred option at forward behind Wayne Rooney proves as much. If Welbeck had been told that he would have a very hard time cracking the starting eleven this year, I think he may have looked at his other options. Welbeck is a Manchester boy, so whether or not I am right to assume that remains a question. Cleverley (a.k.a. Midfield Jesus, TM) was given the chance to be  our key man in midfield and only a gruesome injury prevented him from making the position his own.

If the club is willing to offer the same opportunities to Pogba and Fryers next season then I can definitely see the pair deciding it would be in their best interests to stay at the club. While I ultimately think both would do well to go out on loan in the Premier League next season, each needs to be presented by the club a vision of their future being integral to the first team over the next few years.

Considering United’s well-documented lack of talent in the centre of the midfield, Pogba ought to be encouraged by the fact that there is a need for the qualities that the lad is supposed to have in spades. The club’s transfer policy in this area of the first team reflects a preference for using academy players which cost less than to spend on a in-his-prime world class player. The wages Pogba is seemingly demanding (around 35-45k a week) are dwarfed by what Wesley Sneijder was supposedly commanding last summer (250,00k a week). At this point, United need to commit to the player they went through a lot of wrangling to acquire in the first place. And if Pogba progresses and becomes the player many believe he can be, paying him 35k a week now will save the club money in the long run.

And regarding Fryers, it is merely speculation that he is seeking a pay rise. The player came out of nowhere to make an impact for the club in its brief run in the Carling Cup and definitely caught the eye. His barnstorming runs were the subject of much adulation from myself and many others. Unfortunately ‘Zeki’ is stuck behind club captain Patrice Evra and at least one da Silva twin for the starting berth at left back. A centre half by trade, Fryers would have an even more difficult time besting the likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. The young Englishman’s future remains a mystery, but it is no longer a question that the boy has the talent necessary to make it at the club.

A step towards keeping the pair of promising youngsters would be to just pay the wages the two are seeking. In a world where the money dominates, United simply need to pay the cost to be the boss, or be left behind by the clubs that will.

Written by fellow Blogging Red’s podcaster Charles 


18 responses to “Should United Bite The Bullet And Pay Pogba?”

  1. geejay says:

    Pogba is a hot prospect and a kid.what if united agrees to pay his wage demand and he never plays up to expectations what would happen to that.I think S.A.F should have loaned this pogba boy long ago and see how he fairs if he was ok something would av been done to his case if he wants to leave for juve let him leave if he is being paid 45k per week and his silly prospects wastes away on bench is he blind to wat happened to giovinco but to fryers his case is a sorry one he has 2 hardworkin players in front of him but all the same i knw there still somethin for him

  2. Legend(Giggs) says:

    Well said Jacob, sum fans comments makes me wonder if they are true UTD fans,people who know nothing about soccer must shut up and watch soapies.Sir Alex knows better, last season Fergie said the squad was good enough to win the title but all the clever UTD supporters predicted doom and gloom for United, yet UTD won da league and reached CL final, UTD always pays players for what they worth, Smalling had one good season in top flight and UTD immediately improved his contract, so they did with Chicharito too.Pogba must prove himself then he will get the pay he deserves.Even if we give Pogba the cash he demands, do we honestly think he will be with UTD for long?no i dont think so, in few years when he will be a top player, Real Madrid will offer him big wages and he will leave the club, this is a sign of what the boy is all about,Money ! ! ! !

  3. markyboy says:

    If he`s good enough then yes if not let him walk.Just think of what it will cost to buy a new midfielder.

  4. Ella Patterson says:

    Don’t get too excited. Fergie has to think of the future. We cannot pay too much at too young an age or we will go bankrupt paying people who are not worth it. Pogba only has to look at the likes of Cleverley, Wellbeck, Chicharito. All had pay rises and new contracts after they “made it”. Others will take his place. Rossi does well abroad, but we got Chicharito instead, Pique did well alongside the experience of Puyol, so does Johnny Evans with the steadying influence or Rio. The likes of Cofie etc will take over. United and the day to day financial sustainability of United must hold sway. We may have a large debt in contrast to City or Chelsea but if the current owners of all 3 pulled out I know which one I think would swim rather than sink!
    Keep the faith

  5. ChrisW says:

    I don’t understand why we aren’t playing Pogba more to give him a chance to show that he is worth the sort of money he is asking for.

    If he’s brilliant then we may decide he’s worth it. If he flops the lad might just start being more reasonable (and if not we’ll know we’re doing the right thing letting him go).

    Just deciding not to play him seems like the worst thing to do. Unless he’s really not all that good, in which case what the hell are Juventus doing offering hom £40K a week?

    We should keep playing him as a sub. Give him a couple more safe opportunites in games we’ve already won. Then we can judge if he’s good enough to start in a few games. By the end of the season we would have a much better idea what he’s worth.

  6. Andrew says:

    Its more about what Pogba represents in today’s football world. We won’t cater for these young players who just do what there agents tell them to do all the time. We have to have players that are capable to making a decision for themselves and knowing what is best for their career. We won’t pay stupid wages to players who have yet to earn them.

    Pogba is a talented lad and if he stayed and broke into the team, he would probably get a 45k contract within 18 months. At this point though he has not even started a match for the club yet. He doesn’t have the right to demand that sum. We signed players like Hernandez and Smalling and they only just got contracts like that now, after helping us win the title last year.

    Pogba linked up with the Italian agent, and I don’t know why, but as soon as that happened this was only ending one way. This agent has got Ibrahimovic moving clubs every 2-3 years as it is. Pogba can go to Juventus if he thinks that is best for his career progression, or because they offered him £45k, it doesn’t matter. He will probably get loaned out to Perugia or Venezia or something.

    Zeki is another player who has a lot to prove, and we have to send out a message. We want good young players but we won’t allow agents to demand stupid salaries. Players either stay and have a career with Manchester United, or they can go down to a club like West Ham.