It’s one of the most overused phrases in football: “form is temporary, class is permanent.”
That being said, it’s cliché for a reason and, well, is simply spot on. After all, it proves a very relevant phrase in the case of Paul Pogba this season.
Having returned to Manchester United as the world’s most expensive footballer of all time, the Frenchman has experienced a non-descript season back at Old Trafford. Far from poor but nothing representative of a £89 million price tag.
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The midfielder has racked up 50 appearances in red this season, yet has failed to transfer his Juventus form across the Channel.
While Pogba is admittedly a holding midfielder, just five goals in 2016-17 proves somewhat underwhelming nevertheless. He has also contributed five assists – nothing compared to the 18 amassed by Kevin de Bruyne.
Therefore, the 24-year-old has expectedly come in for his fair share of criticism with his transfer fee only serving to amplify the issue. One man jumping on the bandwagon has proven Ruud Gullit.
Ahead of tonight’s Europa League final, the Dutch legend was reflecting upon Pogba’s maiden season since returning. Despite being no stranger to the difficulties of the Premier League himself, the ex-Chelsea boss was in no mood for mercy.
Speaking to Voetbal Primeur, Gullit stated: “Pogba has made no impression at all in England. I do not know if Ajax have to be concerned by him right now.”
Oh dear, oh dear Ruud.
It’s fair to say that these comments might come back to bite the Dutch pundit with hindsight exposing them as hilariously misplaced.
After all, Ajax have had every reason to be concerned by Pogba with the Frenchman currently proving the difference between the two sides.
It was the Frenchman’s very own left footed strike that found the next from 25 yards, helped on its way by a deflection from Davinson Sanchez that gave the Red Devil’s the lead.
The strike can be seen below:
Perhaps, Ajax’s error was talking Gullit’s advice by neglecting United’s star man.
We are of course looking back through rose-tinted glasses and Pogba has certainly been mediocre this season, yet Gullit was unwise to write him off with such conviction.
For all of the 24-year-old’s bland performances, he has never been too far from a moment of inspiration. Whether it be a sublime long range pass, brilliant finish or ingenious piece of skill, Pogba’s talent is undoubted.
So to say he’s made no impression in English football seems as misguided as his Ajax comment. At the very least he has added flair, emojis and extra instances of dabbing to the Premier League.
And now, he proves the crucial difference in Manchester United’s biggest game of the season and their backdoor ticket into the Champions League.
Finishing United’s season on a high and beautifully masking a disappointing sixth place finish, is that not enough for you Ruud? That’s if Jose Mourinho’s men can hold on, of course.
Do you think Paul Pogba will come good at Manchester United next season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below