With every goal he scores, every award he wins and every digit that gets added to his price tag, Paul Pogba will continue to cement the fact that he may well be Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest mistake as Manchester United manager.
Recent reports in The Guardian have suggested that United have been quoted £60million for the youngster, who left Old Trafford a mere two years ago emphasising the potential cost of Pogba’s departure.
Pogba’s rise from a plucky teenager fighting to earn the trust of Sir Alex to a talent that rightfully claimed the 2013 ‘Golden Boy’ award for the best young player in Europe, almost happened over night.
Many, including Ferguson, criticised Pogba heavily for leaving United in such an impatient manner for a team that boasted an array of some of the best midfielders in the world such as Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, however, Pogba had no qualms signing for Juventus and what was perceived as arrogance has proven to be intense self-belief.
The lifeless and dormant United midfield are a million miles off the quality that Juventus can boast and it is testament to Ferguson’s glaring error that Pogba has made his name competing for a place in a team with midfielders far superior to those currently on the books at Old Trafford.
The £60million figure, however, would represent good value for money in a market that is dominated by hype and avaricious agents.
United must make a move to bring Pogba back to the Theatre of Dreams and here are four reasons why:
1) Young & Mercurial Talent
Manchester United have always been a club that have aimed to build teams around youth and the irony of Pogba’s departure from United is that Fergie built such a good reputation for giving youth a chance. Players such as Tom Cleverley, Nick Powell and Wilfried Zaha, however, have failed to prove they have the quality to play at the top level and the signing of Pogba would represent both a youthful and world class signing. With the acquisition of Luke Shaw looking imminent, Van Gaal is clearly looking for a balance of youth and experience, however, it is important that United ensure that the young players they are signing are either world class or have serious potential to be.
United’s lacklustre midfield was very poor at both scoring and assisting in front of goal this season. The trio of Fellaini, Carrick and Cleverley managed just two goals between them and signing Pogba could go a long way to taking the pressure of Rooney and Van Persie. One of Pogba’s best assets is his ability to score spectacular goals and often indecisive moments of matches. His incredible technique and superb ball striking abilities mean that the Frenchman can create and score goals out of nothing, and it is exactly this sort of player that United have been missing.
3) Tactical Flexibility
United’s midfield is all too often exposed for its lack of versatility and as such the Red Devils’ style of play has suffered greatly in recent seasons. Carrick and Fellaini lack the dynamism to impose themselves on games Tom Cleverley and Anderson have displayed a lack of technique and consistently poor execution when playing more creative roles. Pogba would give Van Gaal multiple options in the middle of the park. The truth is that United need two midfielders, one creative and one ball winner, however, Pogba fulfils both of these functions. The 21-year-old could play alongside a holding midfielder as a distributive force, in a box-to-box role or as a deep lying ball winner. Pogba has immense tactical awareness for a player of his age and this is a crucial factor in his £60million price tag.
Before the signing of Juan Mata in January, United’s last five signings had been Guillermo Varela, Marouane Fellaini, Wilfried Zaha, Alex Buttner and Angelo Henrique. None of these names show any real sense of ambition and intent from United who have fallen behind the likes of Chelsea, City, Bayern, Real and PSG in recent years. Buying Pogba would be a statement of intent and an assertive move that would re-establish the club as big players in the transfer market. More than ever, United need a marquee signing and there would be few more profitable than Pogba.
There will be some influential figures at Old Trafford gawking at the £60million figure with disapproval, however, it is time for United to realise the extent of their error and pay the price for letting Pogba go.
It remains unlikely that Pogba will leave Juventus this summer and even less likely it will be for United, however the Turin club are eager to keep hold of Vidal, Pirlo and Marchisio and a very sizeable offer for their young star would represent excellent business for them and may well prove too tempting to turn down.
United have been trying to put a bucket under their leaking midfield for too long and the time has come to fix the leak arising from Pogba’s departure.
If they don’t, then Chelsea or City may well swoop for the 21 year old that looks destined to one day lift the Ballon D’Or.
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