In Depth

Did Adidas urge Paul Pogba to pick Man Utd over Real Madrid?

World record transfer deal is great news for sportswear company as it looks to expand into China

Paul Pogba appeared to confirm he turned down a move to Real Madrid before rejoining Manchester United in a world record transfer deal this week.

In a post on his Facebook page, the French star, who left Old Trafford to join Juventus in 2012, explained his reasons for returning to England.

Making it clear that United were not his only suitors, the player appeared to confirm that Los Galacticos were interested in him by pointedly dropping some Spanish into his message.

"My deepest respect to the clubs who considered having me. Gracias, merci!" he wrote. That line is then repeated in Spanish, with no explanation.

Meanwhile, there has been speculation that Adidas may have pushed Pogba towards his decision. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"98624","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Certainly the sportswear company has been milking the deal, which was heralded with a video featuring the player dancing alongside UK rapper Stormzy. Both men - and Manchester United - are backed by the sportswear company.

"Pogba to United is a perfect union for Adidas," says marketing wesbite The Drum. "More so than if he were to go Real Madrid, the other team that had made enquires."

Adidas is the kit manufacturer for both clubs, but the company is focusing its marketing strategy in six cities - London, Paris, LA, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo - and in all of them, United are a bigger brand than Real Madrid, adds the site.

"While sponsors like Adidas aren't driving transfers, they do exert a light touch," it says. 

Much depends on shirt sales, as Adidas reportedly pays United £75m a year to make their kit. "The German business has a lot riding on who signs for the club, particularly in some emerging markets such as China where players are more popular than the actual teams."

The deal is great news for Adidas, concludes the website, as one of the brand's biggest stars is now playing for a team it already sponsors in the world’s most popular league.

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