Former France and Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier thinks Manchester United has become "a factory" rather than a football club. The 68-year-old Frenchman has blasted the Red Devils for their world-record acquisition of Paul Pogba from Juventus and warned the midfielder will find it hard to live up to his price tag.
Pogba, 23, has joined the Reds for £89m ($115.4m) following a protracted transfer saga. Houllier, however, has warned the midfielder is not certain to succeed at Old Trafford. "The sum involved in the transfer has an inhibiting side," Houllier said, according to ESPN.
"It could become a problem depending on the personality of the player, who shouldn't put himself under pressure in terms of that. That's why the manager's discourse is very important."
Houllier, who managed Liverpool between 1998 and 2004, said the transfer fee is not a problem for a club of United's financial standing. But he urged fans to temper their expectations of Pogba.
"He's not going to have €100m games every week... therefore you have to know his character," Houllier said of United's record-breaking signing. "Then it depends on the club and the environment. The English want a star.
"Manchester United generate impressive income. €120m over five years? That's an instalment of €25m per season – it's reasonable when you have a budget of over €500m. Because Man U carry out purchases or sales every transfer window of around €50m. It's no longer a club. It's a factory."
On the flip side, former France and Leeds midfielder Olivier Dacourt says Pogba has the right temperament to cope with fans' expectations. "The difficulty is daily because you're reminded every day in the media that you're the biggest transfer, with your salary, especially if the team's results don't follow," Dacourt told L'Equipe.
"It becomes heavy going if you're not strong enough to overcome that... he's young. But it seems to me that he's able to rise to the stakes. Paul left Manchester because [Paul] Scholes was starting and he felt he should have been doing so more often.
"He imposed himself at Juve. He's coming back through the front door. When you say that you want to be the Ballon d'Or, it's because you believe in your potential."