Manchester United were relaxed this evening about the deal which saw Paul Pogba’s agent allegedly earn £41m by delivering the Frenchman back to Old Trafford, despite suggestions that Fifa would seek “clarification” of the transfer in light of revelations in a newly-published book.
United said that Fifa “have had the documents since the deal last August” and certainly feel the deal is legitimate, despite an AFP report that it would be investigated by the governing body. United have been unwilling to comment on Raiola’s cut from the deal, chronicled in a new book, based on the research of Der Spiegel journalists Rafael Buschmann and Michael Wulzinger and published in Germany this week. The club says it does not comment on contracts.
The club are very aware that Fifa, as regulator, must be seen to be examining deals which have raised questions in the public domain, though what the book really reveals is the extraordinary power wielded by agents, who can negotiate with impunity, however big the club and manager . Raiola claims he told Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012 that a new deal Manchester United were proposing for his then 19-year-old client Pogba was “an offer that my chihuahuas wouldn’t sign.” He took Pogba to Juventus.
The book, ‘Football Leaks: the Dirty Business of Football’, discloses the eye-popping £367,640-per-week ‘basic’ Manchester United salary of Raiola’s most lucrative client, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, rising to £422,500 on account of the £2.86m bonus he receives for scoring 28 goals in his first Premier League season.
But Raiola’s earning power is just as extraordinary. The £41m allegedly includes a near £23m cut of the transfer fee and five instalments totalling £16.39m from United over the course of Pogba’s five-year contract.
Other Football Leaks documents reveal Raiola negotiated a deal for himself which would earn him millions of pounds if United’s bid for his client Henrikh Mkhitaryan was rejected last summer – as well as a huge sum if he left for Old Trafford.
Borussia Dortmund’s desperate need for connections to the elite players who are in Raiola’s client base left them in a weak negotiating position when United bid for Armenian Mkhitaryan, who joined for a fee of £26.3m.
A three-page amendment to Raiola’s contract with Dortmund, dated March 1, 2014 and published by Football Leaks, stated that not only would the agent receive a cut of the transfer fee if Mkhitaryan was sold, he would also pocket a pay-out if the player was not sold. Dortmund would have been liable to pay Raiola millions of euros if they had rejected United’s offer.