When Kevin De Bruyne and Paul Pogba returned to the Premier League from their spells abroad, they both had a point to prove at Manchester City and Manchester United respectively.
The Belgian endured a fairly unsuccessful spell at Chelsea whilst the Frenchman’s first stint at Man United never got off the ground.
Both returned to England hoping to improve their reputation, so let’s compare these two transfers…
Kevin De Bruyne
The player had just been awarded the Bundesliga Player of the Year award and was therefore hotly pursued by many clubs.
While his first two seasons were impressive with City, it was last season where he established himself as one of, if not the best midfielder on the planet. He was simply sensational as City went on to break a number of Premier League records.
Unfortunately for the midfielder, his season so far has been blighted by two knee injuries which have curtailed his progress. However, when he is back at full fitness, there is no doubt that he will resume orchestrating The Citizens’ midfield and spearheading their pursuit to retain the Premier League
It was a big price, but he lived up to it.
TT Grade: A+
Man United re-signed Pogba from Juventus in August 2016 for a then-world record fee of £89m to the great delight of the United fans.
Pogba’s tenure at Man United has probably been the most well-documented career in world football over the past few seasons, with most people aware of the 25-year-old’s shortcomings.
He has the skill, but his attitude and match awareness have constantly been called into question, and it is a reputation that fans would have hoped he would have lost by now. He is just as capable of producing a match winning pass, shot or piece of skill as he is of committing a deplorable error that can cost his team a game. It is this inconsistency that is holding him back.
Silverware has come, the 2016/17 League Cup, and the Europa League in the same year but, for a club like Man United, they are not the trophies which they want. Pogba was the man that was going to bring back the glory days to the club, but he has failed to produce thus far.
Finally, the recent spat that he has had with manager José Mourinho sums up the negative effect that he has on the team. To some, he appears to be a toxic character at Old Trafford, which may damage the club in the long run.
TT Grade: C
These are two of the biggest names in world football, but there is absolutely no contest as to which one wins this transfer battle.
While De Bruyne wasn’t exactly cheap, he was still significantly more affordable than the Frenchman. But price often becomes irrelevant in context of a player’s performances.
On one hand, the Belgian has well and truly been worth his price tag, propelling himself to one of the very best midfielders in the world. On the other hand, Pogba still is struggling to live up to his fee.
It is for that reason De Bruyne comfortably wins this battle.