Paul Pogba is touted as one of the best players in the world on his day. But there haven’t been many days like this for him in a Manchester United shirt since signing for the club in 2016. He was signed under Jose Mourinho for a record transfer fee of £89.3 million. He is the most expensive player in the Premier League and Manchester United’s history. He is a Manchester United academy graduate who left on a free transfer to join Juventus in search of more playing time.
The transfer fee paid mounted immense pressure on him as fans had huge expectations from then- the 23-year-old. He was considered a huge part of the club’s future with the promise to build a team around him.
Pogba’s form has been volatile and unpredictable throughout his time at Manchester United. He has shown glimpses of his true potential now and then but it has not been enough to live up to fans expectations and hype around him. He has 38 goals and 42 assists for man Utd in 206 appearances. He has a G/A contribution of 0.38 per game whereas other top midfielders in the premier league like Bruno and De Bruyne have a G/A contribution of 0.81 and 0.66 respectively. This shows that Pogba has to do a lot more consistently to be in that conversation with the best midfielders in the world.
During his 5 years at the club, He has been injured for 449 days missing 71 matches. It means that he has missed one-fourth of his united games due to injury. This is not a positive sign for a footballer in his mid-20s. The major problem for him is the ankle injury which has kept him out for 4 different spells with a total of 278 days.
Pogba has been mostly played as a no.8 or no.10. His performances as a no.10 have been decent but in the midfield pivot, he has not been promising. He has lacked that discipline and defensive work rate to play as a box-to-box midfielder. He has recently been used by Ole Gunnar Solskjær as a left-winger who drifts into the midfield from time to time. He has arguably looked most comfortable and assuring in that role as he has the freedom to attack without having to do much defensive work.
This role is quite similar to the one he does for France and also did at Juventus. At Juventus, he played in a midfield three with Pirlo and Vidal. Most of the defensive work and running was done by the other two and Pogba had the freedom to attack. For France, He has been supported by Kante, Matuidi, Rabiot or Tolisso who do the running and protect the defence whereas Pogba plays a floating role with sometimes dropping deep or roaming in the attacking third and this is where Pogba looks at his best.
Manchester United fans have often been confused and irritated by seeing Pogba’s outstanding performances for France but disappointing ones for the club. Some rival fans have also made memes for this and this comparison is talked about a lot on social media.
AGENT AND FAMILY MEMBERS
Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is one of the most controversial and powerful figures in the football world. He is a super-agent who represents several well-known players like Pogba, Haaland, Zlatan, De Ligt and Donnarumma. He is disliked by the Manchester United fans for his comments about the manager, club and Pogba’s future publicly. He has often been seen giving negative insights about Pogba’s future especially before big games like the Manchester derby and this season before a very important champions league match. Pogba’s brothers have also been on record saying things about his future and his dream to play for another club. Many fans have turned against Pogba for disrespecting the club by not keeping his agent, brothers quiet about his future and want him sold.
THE QUALITY OF SQUAD
Manchester United’s board have not been able to sign quality players to improve the squad. Most of the players aren’t good enough to play for the Red Devils. Pogba has not been supported by his teammates enough to challenge for the titles. He has looked best in the last season as the team around him has improved with players like Fernandes, Cavani, Maguire and Rashford. In France, he plays in a team full of world-class players like Mbappe, Griezmann, Varane, Kante and Benzema. He is a player who makes good teams better and not someone who can be the Firestarter in a team. Manchester United fans expected Pogba to do what Bruno has done at the club.
He is a very divisive figure who has often been used as a scapegoat by the British media. He has been unfairly criticised by pundits and ex-players for his hairstyle and social-media involvements. Whenever Manchester United perform badly, he is the first one that many journalists point to. This affects a player mentally and he has often hit back at critics with some comments during interviews.
WILL POGBA STAY AT UNITED?
Paul Pogba has 1 year left on his contract after which could leave as a free agent. Manchester United will not want to let him leave on a free agent again especially after signing him for a huge fee. If Pogba decides to run down his contract then the club will look to sell him this summer to get some money. According to reports, Pogba will decide his future after the Euros. His possible destinations if he leaves could be Real Madrid, Juventus or PSG.