Nothing gets a club’s fans going more than a big new signing, especially if it’s a well-known player who’s been bought for a large fee. With transfer fees ever-rising and players moving clubs than ever before, even with the transfer windows only being open at certain times, the excitement levels are off the charts.
It’s no surprise then that when a club does manage to make a new signing, the way the player is unveiled by the club is suddenly becoming more and more of a big deal. The days of the player posing with their new manager and shirt in a traditional format are slowly fading out, being replaced by more flashy unveilings.
And while some have worked well – Arsenal’s cryptic crossword to introduce Saed Kolasinac was fantastic – some have been clunky and downright cringeworthy. Here are five of the worst.
#5 Paul Pogba to Manchester United, 2016
Ah, things could’ve been so different had Alex Ferguson simply used Paul Pogba during his first run at Manchester United – where he was nurtured by their vaunted academy. However, in 2011/12 the Scotsman, tempted Paul Scholes out of retirement rather than have faith on the young Frenchman/ Pogba decided to leave for Juventus when his contract was up and that is where he developed into one of the world’s most highly rated midfielders.
Fast-forward to 2016 and United were looking to flex their financial muscles following three seasons of disappointment after Ferguson’s retirement. They’d already brought Zlatan Ibrahimovic aboard, but after Euro 2016 was over everyone knew the player they really wanted was Pogba. And after plenty of will-he-won’t-he paper talk and protracted negotiations, they finally got their man for a world-record fee of £89m.
It’s a pity, then, that they didn’t technically have a chance to unveil the player themselves. Instead, Pogba and his sponsors Adidas decided to do it before the club had the chance, by producing an awful video starring Pogba alongside grime superstar Stormzy, both men dancing as Stormzy fired off some quick-fire raps.
If it’d been an official United video then perhaps it’d have come off better, but as it was it felt self-serving, overhyped, and a lot of style over substance – basically all of the criticisms of the mega-money transfer and of Pogba himself. It garnered a lot of attention, but for my money, it’s one of the worst unveilings that football’s ever seen.