Since day dot, Paul Pogba has been Public Enemy Number One. Sometimes he has brought it upon himself, sometimes not. But it feels like the end is neigh. Like a toxic relationship that doesn’t want to end, but it needs to. We assess why a transfer would be the best move for both parties, after everything that has transpired.
Paul Pogba – How we got here
On 8th August 2016, Paul Pogba turned to his former stomping ground, Manchester United, for a then-record transfer fee at €105 million (£89.3 million). His agent, Mino Raiola, received a reported €27 million from Juventus when he re-joined the Red Devils. The financial weight of the deal created widespread debate about the money in football, especially that going to agents. Not a great way to start off life back in England.
“This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to”Pogba during his introductory interview with United
Mourinho clearly saw Pogba as the centre-piece to his United project. He lauded him as a future captain, felt that the French international “could be at the heart of the team” for the next decade. In his first season, we didn’t see much turbulence between the Frenchman and the United hierarchy.
The second season is where the cracks started to show. A hamstring injury hampered the 26 year old’s chances of participating early on in the 2017/18 season. But Pogba’s defiance of Jose, by flying out for treatment instead of being treated by United’s medical team, certainly led to the beginning of the friction. In January of that season, the midfielder was hauled off around the 60-minute mark in a loss to Tottenham. He was then subsequently dropped to the bench for their next fixture against Huddersfield.
The following month saw reports that super-agent Mino Raiola had been offering out Pogba’s services. He said his client wanted to be free from the shackles of Mourinho and United. We then, sensationally, heard from Pep in April that these rumours were true, when he revealed that even CITY were offered Pogba.
After the midfield powerhouse played a key role in France winning the 2018 World Cup, we thought Mourinho and Pogba had started a clean slate. Just look at this quote below:
“I’ve never been so happy with Paul Pogba as I am now.”Mourinho after Pogba and France’s triumphant World Cup campaign
But it did not take long for the two to go at it again. Speaking after a 2-1 win against Leicester, Pogba commented “If you’re not happy, you cannot give your best…there are things I cannot say or else I will get fined”. Tit-for-tat comments and spats all culminated Jose stripping the former Juventus midfielder of his vice-captaincy. Then of course, their bizarre training ground spat, after the defeat at the hands of Derby County in the FA cup.
What followed this are rumoured situations that I will not speak upon, as I do not have the factual basis to back it up. But it became clear when Mourinho was sacked that one of the main reasons was due to his mis-handling of Paul Pogba – perhaps going against the saying in football that “no player is bigger than the club itself”.
Now, under Ole, it has been a stop-start period for the Frenchman. Injuries and speculation have not helped Solskjaer’s cause. But it seems as if Paul Pogba is holding out and preserving his body, in order to be ready for a Euro 2020 campaign with France. Or perhaps a blockbuster move elsewhere?
How it will benefit United
With everything that has gone on, it would make sense for him to be moved on. Every press conference Ole goes to, any interview he does, any public appearance. He will more than likely receive a question regarding Pogba’s future. If he was moved on, or the subject matter was at least dealt with, the United hierarchy could focus on other issues within the side. Even if Ole is not the long-term solution for United, at least if a new manager comes in, they do not have the World Cup winner’s burden hanging over them.
For a player who broke the world record for a transfer fee, he has only produced double digit goals ONCE when looking at his statistics within the Premier League. When Pogba came to United, I for one was hoping Yaya Toure-esque goalscoring form and influence over the pitch. You do have to give Paul the benefit of the doubt. He hasn’t been able to play an expansive system that would allow him to flourish, and his best form was found under the revival of Ole.
I anticipate Pogba will still hail a gargantuan fee in the market. £150 million is being quoted. It will probably come from one of the two Spanish superclubs in Barca or Real Madrid. This money can be reinvested into the team and address key needs. A gradual spine is being phased into with McTominay, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Greenwood and co seemingly around for the long-run. They are ample needs within this United team, and hopefully the 26 year old’s money can force the Glazers’ hands in the transfer market. There really would be no excuses for a mass overhaul of the squad in the upcoming summer window.
How it will benefit Paul Pogba
Pogba is entering his prime as a pure central-midfielder, as he is turning 27 in March. The peak of his physical prowess, which is one of his most important attributes to his game. But there is still time for him to have a sustained period of genuine world-class performances, and thus allow him to finally be considered as one of the world’s best. More than likely, we will view Paul Pogba as a Galactico in Madrid.
In Madrid, Kroos and Modric are now entering the latter stages of their careers. The Madrid fanbase are craving that Galactico signing, they haven’t had one in years. *Cough cough*, Eden Hazard last summer. However, in a football sense, it may be the place in which Pogba could thrive.
Zidane would understand how to harvest Pogba’s ability and use it to his advantage. He would have quality surrounding him, and the marketability would be unbelievable. Obviously this aspect of any signing isn’t normally considered too much by the average football fan. But clubs are businesses at the end of the day, so that factor certainly plays a part.
The divorce that is needed
Now, with United setting an asking price of £150m, Juventus look to be chasing the Frenchman and he could be on his way out.
A toxic environment would not help any player. The fact it has happened to such a high-profile player at, arguably, the most high-profile club in the world has created a space in which the French international cannot grow as a player. We all know what he is capable of from his time in Turin, and performances for the national team. I really am rooting for Paul Pogba, hopefully he can make the 20’s his decade to shine.
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