Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes his former side made a “huge error” in allowing Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba to leave for free back in 2012, the Daily Mail reports.
The France international has been heavily linked with a return to Old Trafford this summer, but the Serie A champions are demanding a world record fee of £100m – a fee that reports suggest United are willing to pay.
It would be a bitter pill to swallow for United after letting Pogba leave for next to nothing just four years ago. The then 19-year-old was left incensed at his lack of first-team football under Sir Alex Ferguson and, with the influence of his agent Mino Raiola, refused to sign a new contract and left for Juventus under a cloud.
And Ferdinand believes it was a costly mistake to let a player of Pogba’s potential to leave.
“This is potentially the £100m kid at 23-years-old, he’s got huge potential. The thing that stood out for me when I first met him other than he ability was his personality,” the former England international said on the BBC.
“This kid wants to be the best, he started this tournament very anxious, like a kid who had something to prove after he’d been hyped up and was worthy of that hype but he’s grown into this tournament [for France].
“Didier Deschamps has got to take credit as he’s put him in a deeper role and we’ve seen what tools he’s got in the bag, from his range of passing, playing through the lines into the centre forward, he looks more composed and has more time in that position.”
It is understood United’s path to signing the French superstar has been made more straightforward after Real Madrid pulled out of the race to sign him after balking at the fees required.
But Ferdinand feels Pogba was already showing world class ability before he left for Serie A in 2012.
“His star quality was undoubted. There was not one person in that changing room who wasn’t sure. Everyone in that changing room knew that him leaving was a huge, huge error.”