Paul Pogba – The One That Got Away At Manchester United

It isn’t often that Sir Alex Ferguson makes a mistake, but letting Paul Pogba go last summer looks to be a massive one. With United struggling for a regular and consistent partner for Michael Carrick in the centre of their midfield, people across Europe are wondering just why did they let French wonderkid Paul Pogba leave Old Trafford.

Despite his massive potential, Pogba only made seven first team appearances at Old Trafford after signing from Le Havre in 2009. He left to join Italian champions Juventus, one of United’s European rivals last summer after a contract dispute with Sir Alex Ferguson. It is believed that wages were the problem in the deal and Pogba did not hesitate to leave the club. At the time it was dismissed by the club’s fans as just another youngster being let go, ‘Fergie knows best’ and all that.

However, Pogba has proven this season that he is one of the best youngsters in the whole of Europe with French legend Patrick Vieira saying Pogba is better than he was at the age of 20. Some compliment. He has been a mainstay of Antonio Conte’s midfield, notching up 28 appearances in all competitions so far, scoring five times. This includes a phenomenal double against Udinese in January in which he truly announced himself as one to watch. He has proven himself as the box-to-box midfielder that Man Utd are desperately missing to partner Michael Carrick. I think it is safe to say Juventus are definitely not complaining.

The young Frenchman’s performances this season have earned him recognition on the international stage, earning two caps since the turn of the year. Even if his second cap against Spain did end up in him being sent off, he proved himself more than capable to play alongside some of the biggest names in Europe.

He has shown that he is an all rounded midfielder, in the mould of Ivorian and Man City man Yaya Toure and Vieira himself. In terms of his contribution to Juventus this season, his five goals are just the tip of the iceberg. He has created 18 chances for his teammates and has won 55% of all his duels. This includes a tackle success rate of 70%, which shows he is equally good at the defensive side of the game as the attacking side. He is also supremely confident in his ability and has exceptional ball control, two brilliant attributes for a 20 year old. He lacks fear but this doesn’t mean he lacks composure and intelligence on the ball. To be completely honest, he seems to have the potential to have everything you would want in a midfielder which is definitely an annoyance for United fans who were not happy with the way he left Old Trafford.

His weaknesses, as for all young players include his lack of positional sense but that will come through experience. Pogba also has a long way to go to proving himself at the top level, he must continue the form he has shown this season over a prolonged period of time before anyone can consider him as a great European midfielder but the young Frenchman is definitely on the right track. Now he is being played most weeks, he seems to have lost the attitude which he seemed to have whilst in England.

Although he is nowhere near the finished package, Pogba has shown all the signs of being a future great central midfielder. If Juventus continue to give him the leeway to roam like they do with Arturo Vidal with Andrea Pirlo sitting in front of the back three, Pogba will only grow as a player. He can obviously be influential all over the pitch, his talent just has to be nurtured in right way.

What are United fans’ thoughts on Pogba? Do you regret the decision to let him go? Will Pogba be a future great central midfielder? Let me know!


Tim Simon