Rio Ferdinand: Man United must 'get Paul Pogba in whatever it costs'

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand says his old club will not be paying an inflated asking price if they hand over £100 million to bring Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford.

"It doesn't matter what anyone says about the fee Juventus are getting for Paul Pogba because that is the going rate for a player of his quality," Ferdinand, now a pundit for BT Sport, told ESPN FC.

"It wasn't long ago that people said United were not spending enough, so I say go with it and get Pogba in whatever it costs."

United are widely reported to be close to signing Pogba in a world-record deal, four years after the French star left the club for nothing following a contract dispute between his then manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his agent Mino Raiola.

Pogba's lavish price tag has been the subject of much conjecture in recent weeks, with critics suggesting the midfielder, who was part of the France team that reached the Euro 2016 final last month, is being sold for an extravagant price.

Yet Ferdinand is convinced the deal makes perfect financial sense for United, as he believes the player, who may soon be wearing a red shirt once again, has the potential to be a shining star in the game for years to come.

"The money Man United bring in from a variety of sources means they can justify this kind of transfer, so it is not a crazy deal from their perspective," he said.

"You are investing in massive potential here. This player could be the best midfielder in world football for the next 10 years and if he was to spend those years at United, then it would be a good investment to buy him now."

Ferdinand believes sporting brands of United's vast magnitude now consider a variety of factors when they make a big-money move for a player of Pogba's stature, as he claims the huge social media reach the French midfielder can command on his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts plays a part in the decision to have over a record sum for his services.

"What you have to remember is football clubs look at a transfer like this on a variety of levels now," said the six-time Premier League title-winner Ferdinand.

"First of all, he has to be a good player, but they also weigh up whether the guy they are spending all this money on can enhance their brand.

"When I got into social media a few years ago and starting telling everyone about Twitter, they thought I was a bit weird, but I could see where it was going.

"Now, social media is everywhere and United will look at the kind of following Pogba has on his Twitter and Instagram accounts and they will want a bit of that.

"Pogba is a brand in his own right and that will encourage United to try and get him. He is also a great player so it will all make sense all round from their perspective."

Ferdinand went on to offer some reflections on his experiences working with a young Pogba as he came through the ranks at Old Trafford, as he warned the more mature 23-year-old midfielder will need to be managed carefully by United manager Jose Mourinho if the move is completed in the coming days.

"I was at United when Pogba was there a few years back and he is a kid that will need to be handled correctly," Ferdinand added. "He is a bit of an extrovert off the field and doesn't always do things in a conventional fashion, but there is nothing wrong with that if he is producing the goods on the pitch.

"I have heard people say he could be the new Roy Keane for Man United, but he is no Keano, let me tell you. He is a very different kind of personality when you compare him to Roy, but we can all see the talent he has got and that is why United are trying to get him back now.

"None of us could believe it when the club allowed him to leave United, but something went on with Pogba and the club over his contract and that can happen in football sometimes. It looks like an expensive mistake now, but United have to accept it for what it is if they want him back."

United and Juventus have yet to make any public comment on a possible deal for Pogba, with the future of the Frenchman set to be crystalised when he returns from his holiday in the United States in the coming days.