Many fans at Old Trafford have spent the past week rueing Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to allow two of the club’s finest youth players to leave the club last year.
Although questioned at the time, these decisions are under the spotlight again. Last weekend, Ravel Morrison put in a match-winning display for West Ham after being jettisoned out of Manchester for only £650,000. In addition, yesterday Juventus president Andrea Agnelli highlighted the progress of the prodigiously talented Paul Pogba, who signed for the club on a free transfer from Manchester United. Agnelli admitted the Italian club may struggle to hold onto the Frenchman if they received a “massive offer” for the midfielder.
The decision to let the players leave the club for a pittance has been exacerbated by the paucity of young creative talent in the club’s midfield. This has been highlighted by the promotion of the workmanlike Tom Cleverly.
At the time, Ferguson blamed Pogba’s departure on the player’s wage demands, which he considered excessive. Meanwhile, Morrison’s transfer was attributed to the player’s reported ill-discipline. While a principled stand that limits the amount of money a young player is paid is admirable, the salary Pogba demanded is undoubtedly less than his market value today. It is likely that both midfielders would now be members of the matchday squad, with Pogba almost certainly one of the first names on the team sheet.