Manchester United’s forgettable fortnight in both the Premier League and on the continent has been well-documented, with Paul Pogba’s relatively ineffective start to life back at Old Trafford in the collective thoughts.
There is little doubting the France international’s ability and it is surely only a matter of time before the £89 million, world-record signing comes good and becomes a driving force for Jose Mourinho’s men.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) September 22, 2016
However, given the staggering price tag that United splashed out to bring Pogba back to the Premier League, it is only natural to think of what else the Manchester club could have spent the money on.
For that fee, the English club could have raided European rivals for two players at the same time – here are three enticing options.
Koke and Saul Niguez
United ensnared David De Gea from Atletico Madrid and the Spanish goalkeeper has gone on to become arguably their most important player.
The capital city side have progressed to bigger and better things since selling the goalkeeper, with Diego Simeone’s men challenging for La Liga and Champions League silverware on a perennial basis.
Two of the Vicente Calderon outfit’s shining lights play in central midfield, but both are versatile enough to play in wide areas or behind the attack also.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) September 15, 2016
Would United fans rather have Pogba in the centre of their midfield with Marouane Fellaini or an all-Spanish boiler room contingent of Koke, Niguez and Ander Herrera?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Julian Weigl
Julian Weigl is a name less-glamorous than Paul Pogba currently and perhaps a player that many United fans will not be familiar with.
However, in the near future as the 21-year-old continues to star for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Champions League, and gets the inevitable call-up to the Germany national squad, this will change.
Most Bundesliga passes completed yesterday:
Matthias Ginter (100)
Julian Weigl (100)
Yellow wall. pic.twitter.com/LbEeDNXBsS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 18, 2016
A player more similar to Michael Carrick in a deep-lying playmaker role, his addition would have offered more balance and technique to the United midfield than the more direct Pogba.
With the remaining money left over, Aubameyang, one of world football’s most devastating strikers, could have been purchased to bolster Mourinho’s ranks.
Would United fans rather have Pogba in their team or a young replacement for Michael Carrick and the scintillating Aubameyang in their attacking ranks?
Marco Verratti and Lucas Moura
Virtually all of Paris Saint-Germain’s signings since the takeover of the French club have been established, world-recognised stars – the exception, Marco Verratti.
Marco Verratti is made for Champions League football. His best performances for PSG have always been in the CL. pic.twitter.com/UHPfXBAfNU
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFootball) September 13, 2016
The Italian playmaker was landed as a promising youngster from Pescara but has gone on to become one of the best in the world in his central midfield position.
Tenacious in his work-rate, mercurial on the ball and with the energy to inspire others, Verratti’s addition would have been almost as groundbreaking as Pogba’s without having to pay the world-record fee.
Add to that former United target Moura to fill the right-wing berth at Old Trafford and Mourinho’s squad would have looked decidedly more rounded.
Would United fans rather have Pogba or another young gun midfielder that is in the same top-class category and a star Brazilian winger like Moura?