One big question that remains as Paul Pogba potentially departs from Manchester United

Paul Pogba's time at Manchester United is reportedly nearing its end
Paul Pogba's time at Manchester United is reportedly nearing its end

Paul Pogba is an almost artistically flamboyant midfielder who exudes class, composure, and creativity at a world-class level. He joined Manchester United's youth team in the summer of 2009 and made only a handful of appearances for the senior team before departing for Juventus.

Pogba made a sensational return to Old Trafford in 2016 for a then world-record €105 million transfer fee.

However, it now seems that the Frenchman’s time at Manchester United could be on the brink of a disappointing end. The word "disappointing" is not used in a vague sense.

It holds connotations for both Pogba and United. He may have felt disappointed at the lack of silverware during his time at Old Trafford. However, many fans feel that the constant speculation of him leaving, combined with lackadaisical performances, meant that he never lived up to his price tag.

The question upon his probable departure that needs to be asked is, will Manchester United miss Paul Pogba?

The answer lies far beyond a simple yes or no. It remains well-guarded in several key aspects that have to be looked into during his time at Old Trafford. Let's dive into these aspects.

United never gave Paul Pogba the chance to show his true colors

The constant argument that comes up in favor of Paul Pogba is that he is not the same player at Manchester United as he is for France. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which France won, Pogba was an integral part of the side. He commanded the midfield and displayed some of his very best performances since leaving Juventus.

So the argument that constantly arises is that United never gave him the chance to show his true colors. His second stint at Old Trafford saw him arrive at a time when the club was going through a transition phase.

The post-Alex Ferguson era saw the club move from post to pillar in search of success. Splashing €105 million on the Frenchman would have helped had United also spent an amount on a defensive midfielder.

An argument could be made that United signed Nemanja Matic during that time. However, it can be countered stating that Matic was at the end of his prime when he joined and never fit in well with Pogba in the Jose Mourinho system. For example, one can look at the N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba connection for France.

The 29-year-old is not the most energetic player on any given day. However, he fed off of Kante’s energy and drive to provide incisive passing and a commanding dribbling range at the heart of the French midfield.

The 2014-15 season was arguably Pogba’s best season in Juventus colors in terms of club achievements. However, he had Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo in a three-man midfield to command proceedings.

The Frenchman scored 10 goals and assisted 11 throughout that season despite missing out on a host of matches through a hamstring injury. In the season prior to that, Pogba had assisted 16 goals for his club across competitions.

This goes to show that with a formidable midfield by his side, Pogba can drive any team to glory.

Inconsistency and injuries blot Paul Pogba’s time at Manchester United

Paul Pogba has played a total of 233 matches for Manchester United. In this time, he has scored a total of 39 goals and assisted another 51 of them. While the argument has been made above that the former Juventus man did not have the required personnel around him, a counter to that could be made here.

The Frenchman’s price tag and his hefty wages have always brought him under pressure to perform. Since coming to the club, he has been the focal point of every United team. But when all is considered, Pogba has never lived up to the billing as much as fans would have liked. His consistency while playing for the Red Devils has always come under the radar.

Combined with the inconsistency has been the World Cup winner’s lack of fitness. During his time at Old Trafford, he has suffered many injuries - hamstring, ankle, calf, and thigh problems, to name a few. United’s marquee signing also spent his injury recuperation in Dubai at the start of the year, which led current interim manager Ralf Rangnick to question the player’s commitment to the club (as seen in Metro).

While injuries to any player are always unfortunate, Paul Pogba’s performances haven’t helped his case either. He has crossed the double-figure mark in terms of assists only twice since rejoining the club in 2016.

His best performance came in the 2018-19 season when he scored 16 goals and assisted in 11 throughout all competitions. Another highlight came in the form of the Europa League victory in 2017, where he was also the best player in the tournament.

Paul Poga is a controversy magnet

Since arriving at Manchester United, Paul Pogba has made headlines for several reasons, but the most common reason of all is the rumors surrounding his departure. The rumors started as early as the 2017-18 season. With various top European clubs vying for his signature, it was always an uphill battle for the Red Devils to keep their star footballer.

The battle was made even more difficult due to agent Mino Raiola’s constant comments on Paul Pogba’s future. It is no secret that Raiola does not share the best of relationships with United. This was consistent with various remarks made by the agent. He was quoted as saying:

“Pogba's problem is Manchester United. It's a club out of touch with reality and without a sporting project. I wouldn't take anyone there, they would ruin even Maradona, Pele, and Maldini. Paul needs a club and a squad, one like Juventus was before.”

On another occasion, Raiola directly stated that his client’s time at United was over.

"I can say that it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United."

Raiola’s constant tryst with controversy has directly brought Paul Pogba into the mix as well. Since December 2020, it has been reported on several occasions that the World Cup winner may either leave for Real Madrid, Juventus or even for PSG. The player even said it himself in an interview that playing for Real Madrid would be a dream.

It could be said that the World Cup winner is not in the best of positions to buy his time. The midfielder turns 30 next March and probably has one lucrative contract left in him. Raiola’s comments, combined with the Frenchman’s desire to leave for free, have made fans want to see the back of Paul Pogba.

However, to answer the question on whether he will be missed at Old Trafford, with the right recruitment and wage bill clearing up, the most likely scenario is that he won’t be.

Do you think Paul Pogba will be missed at Manchester United? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Edited by Shardul Sant