Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has conceded that Paul Pogba's world-record transfer fee has been a burden for the player this season.
Pogba returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last August for an initial fee reported to be £89.3million, one that eclipsed the £86m Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale in 2013.
The France international has struggled to live up to that sizeable investment in his first season back in English football, with the 24-year-old often accused of trying too hard to impress during an inconsistent campaign on the whole for the club.
Mourinho insists Pogba has performed well, particularly in United's run to the Europa League final, but hopes to see another player become the most expensive in the world so as to alleviate the pressure on the midfielder's shoulders.
He told Omnisport: "I think the problem is the tag, the price tag on his back. 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, 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 is confident that Pogba can become the world's finest player in his position if he continues to develop at United.
"I never liked too much 'the best in the world' – you never say the goalkeeper is 'the best in the world', you only say [Fabio] Cannavaro if somebody decided to say a central defender is the best in the world. The best in the world is almost always the goalscorer. It's a bit unfair," he said.
"So to say the best in the world is difficult to say. I think to be the best midfield player, I think so. I don't see another one with everything he has. He has to develop; of course he has to develop. But he has the physicality, he has the brain, he's very skilful, 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."
One player who has thrived at United this season is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who struck 28 goals in all competitions in his first season in English football before a serious knee injury sustained last month ended his campaign.
20 - Wayne Rooney is the first Manchester United player to score 20 Premier League penalties for the club. Spot. pic.twitter.com/JwSe7bjt2v— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 30, 2017
Club captain Wayne Rooney has also found life difficult this term, having struggled to force his way into Mourinho's first-team plans despite United's huge number of matches.
Mourinho accepts that it can be difficult for top players to handle such a situation during the closing stages of their career but he hailed Rooney's dedication throughout the campaign.
"It's very difficult because during my career I had this kind of situations of getting players – amazing players with amazing history – in the last period of their career," he said.
"When you get players in the last part of their careers, the players with the big history in the club – and I had that everywhere, I had that in Inter, I had that at Real Madrid, I had that at Chelsea.
"Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, to have them – and in my case I had them in the best period of their career – and then when I returned the second time, I had them in their last period of their career. How difficult it is.
"And sometimes, the players understand the situation. Sometimes the players still feel they are 24, 25 and it's very difficult. The good thing with Wayne is that he's a very club man. He's very club man. And if he is frustrated, he hides it. If he is not happy, he hides it. He behaves in the best possible way. And when he's not injured, he's always available. And in fact now, I need him. I need him back because we have so many problems."
|Scherzer, Harper help Nationals cruise past Padres|
|Teenager Chespol stars in Eugene|
|Emery desperate to win Coupe de France|
|Thomas shocked by Stevens snub|
|Toronto 5 Columbus Crew 0: Eastern Conference leaders cruise|
|Hazard unfazed by comparisons to ´leaders´ Messi, Ronaldo|
|Garcia, Rahm in contention at Colonial|
|Zidane hails ´extraordinary´ Buffon|
|Mayweather talks up McGregor, still considering fight|
|Castleford survive Widnes scare, Salford rout Dragons|
|Wenger to give away FA Cup medal if Arsenal beat Chelsea|
|Conte eyes Chelsea extension to reward Abramovich faith|
|Gerrard to take on Man Utd again in Carrick´s testimonial|
|Belleau boots Toulon into Top 14 final after Aguillon red|
|Bernardo hoping to learn Silva service from Manchester City star namesake|
|I´m still a Colchonero – Griezmann rejects claims Man Utd deal is done|
|Tuala the hero as 14-man Saints claim Champions Cup berth|
|Tearful Mbappe wishes Bernardo Silva well at Manchester City|
|Jamieson surges into three-way tie with Pieters and Molinari|
|WATCH: Pablo Zabaleta surprises Manchester City fans|
|Bernardo Silva: You don´t say no to Pep Guardiola!|
|McIlroy to forego U.S. Open tune-up at Memorial|
|Finch tons up as Australia edge out Sri Lanka|
|Tsonga reaches first clay-court final in Lyon|
|Sangakkara records fifth successive County Championship century|
|Manchester City swoop for Monaco star Silva|
|Wenger: Arsenal stadium move the most difficult time of my life|
|Tuchel has ´goosebumps´ from Dortmund´s Pokal run|
|Sanchez named Arsenal´s Player of the Year as Ozil misses top three|
|Ronaldo agreed he needed more rest, says Zidane|
|Outgoing Barcelona boss Luis Enrique vows he will not change|
|Gavrilova ends Garcia defence to set up Stosur final|
|Zverev stuns Nishikori to book Geneva final with Wawrinka|
|Disaster in the Dolomites for Dumoulin as Quintana takes Giro lead|
|Bale resumes Real Madrid training ahead of Champions League final|
|Murray: Lack of Lendl not behind slump|
|Neymar has evolved but he needs trophies, says Luis Enrique|
|I´ve won my biggest fight - Kvitova|
|Passionate Totti should play on, says Conte|
|Baby, I´m coming home! Evra could not be happier about Old Trafford return|
|Kerber wants to fall in love with clay in bid to arrest slump|
|Liverpool youngster Woodburn ´never really considered´ swapping Wales for England|
|Muguruza: 10 to 15 players can win French Open in Serena´s absence|
|French Open 2017: King of Clay Nadal ready to reign again at Roland Garros|
|Gattuso completes AC Milan return|
|Halep waiting for ultrasound all clear|
|Kitchee 1 Tottenham 4: Son, Kane strike as Spurs round off season in style|
|Beale to miss Premiership final with hamstring injury|
|French Open 2017: Kerber and Murray bound by crippling loss of form|
|French Open 2017: Muguruza eyes first successful defence for a decade - Women´s singles in Opta fact|
|French Open 2017: Nadal´s remarkable record and a long wait for home glory - Men´s singles in Opta f|
|Coutinho perfect for Barcelona - Tite|
|Luis Enrique accepts he has not pleased everyone at Barcelona|
|Chiefs thwart Blues in Eden Park draw, Force see off Reds|
|I´d love it to be a draw - Vickery torn over Premiership final|
|He´s one of the greatest - Conte does not expect Wenger to leave Arsenal|
|England all-rounder Stokes passed fit for second Proteas ODI|
|Not an opponent you want! - Nadal fears things could go Paire-shaped|
|French Open 2017: Djokovic under a different kind of Roland Garros pressure|
|Pogba would have left for €60m had we inserted buyout clause - Marotta|
|Rossi recovering well after motocross accident|
|Sevilla and Argentina reach agreement on Sampaoli|
|Nadal favourite for Roland Garros - Djokovic|
|Pique says referees ´have influenced LaLiga´ as Barcelona defender again calls for VAR|
|Eels too good for struggling Souths|
|Valencia signs Manchester United extension|
|Djokovic excited for new chapter with Agassi|
|French Open 2017: Zverev, Thiem lead Next Gen charge|
|West Ham snap up Zabaleta|
|Luis Enrique needs more than Copa del Rey to secure place in Barcelona history|