Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has told Omnisport he believes Paul Pogba’s world-record transfer fee has weighed heavy on the player’s shoulders in his first season back at the club.
Pogba, 24, returned to Old Trafford last summer in an £89.3 million move from Juventus, but has struggled for consistency for much of the campaign.
And Mourinho hopes a club breaks the transfer record to take the pressure off the France international.
“I think the problem is the tag, the price tag on his back,” Mourinho said. “I hope next summer he’s not anymore the highest transfer fee and then the pressure goes to somebody else.
“If his transfer fee was half of it, everybody would say ‘what a buy,’ ‘he’s playing more than good.’ But everybody expects performances according to that huge transfer fee and that brings pressure and that brings sometimes unfair analysis.
“He had very good matches, he had very good performances. He always sacrifices for the team. If I go for example to Rostov [in the Europa League], the way he played in Rostov was amazing.
“He had little matches where the performance was not so good but normally the performance is related to the team. So when the team was very good, he was very good. When the team didn’t perform so well, he didn’t perform so well.
“So I think it’s a bit unfair. I hope next season some club beats the record with another player and then the pressure goes somewhere else.”
Mourinho remains confident the player will fulfill his potential.
“He has to develop; of course he has to develop,” he added. “But he has the physicality, he has the brain, he’s very skillful, he’s very agile for that huge body he has.
“He’s good in the air defensively, attacking… He’s a very good free-kick taker, so if Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] gives him permission to take more, he would score a few goals. I think he has everything.”