Paris Saint-Germain have broken the unwritten rules of the transfer market. Such is the French club’s enormous spending power, they have found a way to dominate and financially out-muscle even the other biggest clubs in Europe.
And, despite the huge transfer fees that PSG have forked out in recent years, the real key to their success is wages.
The Paris brains trust have decided to offer personal wage packets so ludicrously high that only other state-run clubs can keep up. Anyone else who tries (Barcelona for example) will find the level of wage spending simply unsustainable, even in the cash-rich world of elite European football.
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And so we get to Paul Pogba.
PSG want Pogba. The Manchester United midfielder is one of the biggest stars of French football and the optics of adding a Parisian boy in the heart of the Paris midfield is clearly something that would work well for the club.
But there are plenty of other clubs who also want Pogba. Real Madrid are long-term admirers, while Man Utd are also keen to get their midfielder to sign a new contract.
So why would Pogba opt to run down his existing deal and move to Ligue 1?
You could have asked the same question about Georginio Wijnaldum.
Or Sergio Ramos.
Or Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Or even Lionel Messi.

Hakimi, Wijnaldum, Donnaruma, Ramos et Messi (PSG)

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The Messi case is complicated and slightly different. But Wijnaldum, Ramos and Donnarumma all saw their contracts come to an end at major European clubs, and then walked straight into the welcoming embrace of massive contracts at PSG.
Quite how the Paris club got those deals over the line is speculation - we will never truly be sure.
But all the indicators are that Pogba’s transfer situation is following exactly the same pattern.

Paul Pogba (manchester United)

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Reports this week suggest that PSG are willing to offer half-a-million-a-week for Pogba, which is a massive increase even when compared to his huge wages at Manchester United – terms that are believed to put him well inside the top ten highest paid players in the Premier League.
It is increasingly likely that Pogba will leave the club, with his agent Mino Raiola having previously made no secret of the player’s desire to move on.
“I can say that it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United,” Raiola said midway through last season.
“Paul is unhappy with Man Utd as he is no longer able to express himself in the way that he would like and as he is expected to. Paul needs a new team, a change of air.”
But right now nobody is willing to pay the huge fee it would take to buy Pogba outright. And why do that when he’s available for free in a year’s time anyway?

Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær after the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 23, 2020 in Liverpool, England.

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The strange situation in the current transfer market means that it almost comes down to a wages bidding war, and PSG are backing themselves to blow their transfer competitors out of the water more often than not on that front.
It’s an intriguing tactic. If you look at spend on transfer fees leading up to the pandemic, PSG are nowhere near the highest spenders in Europe.
And that trend has continued into this summer transfer window. Even a big move for Achraf Hakimi doesn’t put them amongst the biggest spenders on pure transfer fees in Europe.
But in terms of club wage bill, only Barcelona come close, and that level of spending has essentially bankrupted the Catalan club.

Lionel Messi poses with his jersey next to President Nasser Al Khelaifi

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PSG’s approach isn’t one open to many. Indeed, how many other clubs are effectively bankrolled by an entire state?
But just because they’re one of the few clubs who can do it, doesn’t make it any less clever a strategy.
And the apparent pursuit of Pogba suggests that PSG have no intention of taking their foot off the throats of their European rivals any time soon.

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