English soccer has never truly seen the best of Paul Pogba. The French midfielder’s natural talent is widely acknowledged, but he never flourished at Manchester United like many expected him to. With Pogba expected to leave Old Trafford as a free agent this summer, there is a lot of discussion about what the 29-year-old’s future might hold.
Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain have all been mentioned as admirers of Pogba with the Frenchman open to the idea of a return to Italy, where he played his best soccer a number of years ago. However, the most intriguing prospect is the one that sees him make the move to Manchester City for the start of next season.
Widespread reports recently stated City’s interest in Pogba with Pep Guardiola keen to add the 29-year-old to his squad. To many, this interest was surprising. Pogba’s talent is undeniable, but he is a very different profile of player to the one usually targeted by the Premier
For starters, Pogba has often been criticised for his lack of off-the-ball work ethic. This is at odds with what Guardiola looks for in a player with Manchester City very proactive in their pressing. What’s more, Pogba could potentially lack the focus required to play for a Guardiola team. He is prone to lapses of concentration.
And yet City’s signing of Pogba would offer something of a conclusion on the debate over the Frenchman – is he to blame for the way his career has stagnated over the last few years or are Manchester United the true culprits? Would Guardiola get the best out of Pogba or would he experience many of the same issues Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick encountered?
The suggestion is Guardiola believes he would be able to deploy Pogba in a deeper role than the one he has most commonly been used in at United. The 29-year-old’s passing range is exceptional and there’s good reason to believe this would give Manchester City a different dimension in central midfield.
At Manchester United, Pogba has been frequently asked to play an all-action role in the centre of the pitch. The Old Trafford club paid a world record transfer fee to sign the Frenchman in 2016 in the belief they could build a team around him. United never fully grasped Pogba’s profile as a player.
He isn’t the one to provide structure. Instead, Pogba needs structure around him and he has never had that during his time at Manchester United. He would, however, have that at Manchester City. Pogba would have the likes of Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne to share the midfield load with. It wouldn’t be all down to him. Pogba could focus on his task with greater clarity.
Recent reporting states Pogba favours a move to Juventus or PSG over one to City. It’s understandable that the 29-year-old might desire a fresh start in another country after everything he has endured in England, but Guardiola could give him a lot of what he has spent the last six years looking for.
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