Date: 28th February 2012 at 9:43pm
Written by:

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. Smid82 says:

    No player is bigger than united if pogba doesn’t want sign a contract then time to let him move on to pastures ne

  2. Godwin Adzaye says:

    If he wants to go fine but if he wants and need more money he should come out clear no long things.

  3. karlomu says:

    he seems to be ill advised by his agent if not and this is all his own musing f**k him he,ll never be a great player if he leaves united,i hope for he,s sake he stays and puts his head down and works hard to get in the team.

  4. leftback says:

    “just pay the wages the two are seeking”

    Are you mad? If they are worth what they’re seeking, I’m sure Sir Alex would have done that already. If the Club do not feel they are worth more than what has been offered to them, then that’s the final decision. They have been doing this much longer and know much more about this side of business than you’ll ever do in your lifetime.

    Just because they looked good in the reserve league games and few appearances for the first team, you should not question the decision-makings of Sir Alex or the management who have proven over the years that they haven’t done so badly.

  5. elhair says:

    I have seen Pogba all season and yes he has the potential to go all the way to the top of our club. But we can now see he doesn’t love the club otherwise like Valencia he would tell his agent to do one and sign a contract. I’m sorry but £25 grand a week is well enough for an 18 year old who hasn’t even started a 1st team game yet. Give him a contract with a renegotiation clause in it. As for Fryers I think he knows he isn’t gonna get much of a chance due to the people in front of him. Sorry fella

  6. Craig says:

    Sir Alex needs to tread carefully. Is he losing the plot. Rossi went and has done very well in la liga. Pique now at barca and winning many trophies. Now pogba who he refuses to play yet is too good to play in the reserves. What is be doing to the club I adore. We are lucky to be in second place this season. Chelsea have not been up to scratch and man city have drawn and lost easy games where we have won. There is a lacking of creativity at man united and pogba can is that man to give it back to us. He is the next young scholsey

    • Jacob says:

      Pique and Rossi left primarily because of playing experience, not money related so comparing Pogba’s situation with theirs is somewhat irrelevant as Pogba’s is more money-drive versus playing time. We are in the run-in for the title.

      Not a time for tinkering with the squad. Fergie is relying on experienced players to get us the title instead of breaking in youngsters. By the way, West Ham just dropped to 2nd place in the Championship and Morrison hasn’t even started a game yet. That tells you something about title run-ins don’t they?

  7. toshe says:

    on the other side utd was paying a lot for hargreaves for nothing and is still paying owen a lot for almost nothing,,,it is like paying insurance for my oldtimer what i do not drive,,but have no money for some extra icecream for my son

  8. kc says:

    Fergie paid 7m for Bebe, so why not Pogba? Paying his wage demand may go against his will based on current structure but for an exceptional talent there has to be some room for compromise. No player is bigger than the club, that should be, but really? What about Rooney and his mega deal that was offered to keep him?

    • Jacob says:

      Fergie paid Vitoria 7M; United did not pay Bebe that amount in wages. As to Rooney, it was bad that he got that but his worth is already proven. Pogba’s is not. How can you compare a world class player with a hot prospect?

  9. Jacob says:

    United should not bite the bullet. Nobody is bigger than the club. I believe we are taking the high ground by sticking to our beliefs and ensuring that we are not held hostage by players, especially those that are still hype and yet to be prove themselves on the world stage.

    It is the youngsters mentality that is to be questioned. They are impatient, arrogant, want to make a quick buck and believe too much in their hype. Some of us believe too much in their hype too.

    Reserve games are not a true indicator as Obertan was great in them but failed to replicate his form to the first team. Not saying Pogba won’t but to use reserve team performances and hype as a factor to ask for high wages for your playing level is ransom. Why can’t they be more patient and wait for their moment? They’re still young.

  10. Trydent says:

    What is wrong with some of you people?You will accept any demand by unproven players to keep them.One moron here even has the ignorance to question the best manager this club has ever had.If any unproven player wants to stay they will.If they are only after money then I have one answer-Fuck Off! You crawlers call yourselves supporters.Accept anything as long as you get another years reflected glory.You really need to grow up!