Pogba transfer investigation another hurdle for Manchester United

Paul Pogba faces serious investigation for his transfer feesWhen Manchester United made Paul Pogba the most expensive transfer in history last summer, many wondered whether he was worth the money. Now it appears FIFA has been asking a similar question, and is taking a closer look at where all that money went.

FIFA confirmed its request for more information in a statement released Tuesday, while also denying it is doing a formal investigation into the transfer of Pogba, who is in his second stint with United. The club netted less than 2 million Euros when they sent him to Juventus in 2012, but he cost a record 105 million Euros to re-acquire four years later after making a name for himself in Italy.

The investigation appears tied with the release of a tell-all book about backroom dealings within the sport—a book which apparently contains new information regarding the Pogba transfer. Acquiring Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was supposed to symbolize United’s rebirth as a contender, but instead Pogba’s exorbitant fee became a symbol of everything wrong with the highest levels of the transfer market. The infamy of Pogba’s fee only grew as the midfielder struggled to adjust to life with United, doing little to help them stay competitive domestically with four goals and three assists through 29 Premier League appearances.

Reports from October indicate Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, made close to 30 million Euros off the deal. Raiola also represents Ibrahimovic, and likely earned a handsome sum from that transfer as well, but the real issue is not the amount he earned so much as how he was paid. Transfer payments are often structured in legally dubious ways to avoid certain taxes and fees, although it is not clear whether that is the case with United and Raiola.

United sit four points behind rival Manchester City for the fourth and final Champions League spot in Premier League play, leaving the Europa League as their most viable option to get back into the top tournament in European club competition. Pogba did not play in United’s 2-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday so he should be rested and ready when Celta Vigo visits Thursday for the second leg of their Europa semifinal tie, which United leads 1-0 on aggregate. If Pogba can help United reach the Europa League final and lift them into Champions League for next season, it wouldn’t change the narrative around his move back to Manchester, but it would definitely be a start.