Manchester United: The Life of Paul Pogba – how is he viewed?


Paul Pogba has one of the most interesting, controversial stories in the Premier League and this summer once again he’s the focal point. Here, I look at the two different angles Pogba is viewed by the public.

After leaving United for Juventus in 2012 and carving a name for himself in Serie A, he’s been on every team’s radar and has grown into one of the most talented players in the world. This summer, it seems that once again his relationship with Manchester United has soured and he seeks an exit once more.

There are two stories of Pogba and they could not be more different. One side is his unnatural talent and humble beginnings which have shaped him into a midfield maestro. The other side is the media’s view. He’s a lazy spectacle on the pitch, who’s effort is constantly questioned coupled with a manager who critiques him to the media.

Paul Pogba was born in a small town in France and moved to Manchester in 2009 where he lived with host parents. He was one of four players promoted from the academy to the first team by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011. He made a name for himself in Manchester in the youth team and moved to Juventus to play weekly soccer. In a world record fee, he returned to Manchester United in 2016. Two years later, he may be on the move again.

Pogba possesses an extraordinary vision from the center of the pitch and easily plays 30 to 45 yard balls directly to the feet of his teammates. He is strong on the ball and quick with his feet resulting in a terrifying spectacle for the opposition’s defense.

During the Manchester Derby, we saw this Pogba. Completely bossing the midfield, commanding the transition from defense to attack, and rattling the defense. Paul Pogba, in flashes throughout his time in Manchester and during the World Cup, has become one of the most technically gifted midfielders in the world.

In the right system, Pogba can truly run a team and be the metronome behind each attack. In order to get the most out of Pogba, the manager must set him free. Bringing Fred into the Manchester squad was a great first step.

Fred and Matic will unleash Pogba this season (assuming he stays) because he will not have to worry about defense to a certain degree. This is how the midfield of Juventus and France was set up, with Marchisio/Vidal and Kante/Matuidi covering for him, respectively. Allowing Pogba to have free reign in the midfield, he will immediately become more creative and have a more attacking mindset.

There were flashes of this last year at United, usually when he played in a midfield 3 with Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic covering for him. By uncoupling him from these defensive responsibilities, all of a sudden he can push the ball up the field and join the attack essentially adding an additional big man on the edge of the 18 drawing defenders to him and freeing up the attack.

This is what Pogba could be at Manchester United. A midfield terror running at the opposition and creating all the attacks. Fred and Matic will be able to pick the ball up deep and feed it to him to start the attack.

When Mourinho starts the new season on Friday, it will be imperative to allow Pogba to play the game he wants to play. When Pogba is at his peak level, there are few things a defense can do to limit his effect on the field.

Pogba has another side. A more human side. There are instances where he goes into his shell. He plays from too deep in Manchester United’s half. He turns off defensively. He doesn’t follow the attack. He’s a waste of a world record fee. These are all criticisms of Pogba.

With all of his talents on display this summer at the World Cup, Pogba has been thrust once again into the media spotlight. Criticism from all sides have rained down on him since his return to Manchester. This undoubtedly has placed a thought of doubt in his head and effected his game.

When Pogba doesn’t perform to expectation, the British media has a heyday. When he plays a wayward pass or doesn’t play defense as well as they think he could, he’s the scapegoat. Due to this, his return to Manchester has now caused him to doubt why he’s still at the club. Coupled with Mourinho’s refusal to defend him, he has begun to think about success elsewhere.

There is interest from Barcelona and Juventus and Pogba has reportedly informed his teammates that he wants a move and out of Manchester. Barcelona lowballed Manchester United earlier this week with a bid of 45 million pounds plus Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina. United outrightly refused. Juventus want him back in Serie A playing alongside Ronaldo and Dybala.

It is concerning that United may lose Pogba this summer due to his importance in the team and the fact that this season he very well may be suited for excellence with the signing of Fred.

The Manchester United’s top brass and Jose Mourinho should do everything in their power to keep Pogba in Manchester this season. Paul Pogba at his best is one of the very best midfielders in the world. Mourinho must find a way to unleash Pog-boom just as Allegri did in Juventus and Deschamps did in Moscow this summer because if he does, he has a world class super start in his midfield.

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Paul Pogba has risen to prominence since his transfer to Juventus and stories have followed him everywhere. Once again, he faces an intersection in the world of transfers. Does he stay at Manchester United and bring them a title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left? Is he able to find his talent on a consistent basis and is Mourinho able to unleash him? I’d like to think so.