Image credit: Goal.com
Paul Labile Pogba is the world’s most expensive player, in
the world’s most expensive team, playing for the most popular football club in
the world. So obviously this means the spotlight is firmly on him as Manchester
United try to reignite the glory years of the Sir Alex Ferguson era. When
Mourinho arrived he had to make a statement of intent and Pogba was that
statement. The £89m fee has been used as a stick to beat him with because if he
has a good game he gets no credit but when he has a bad game we get the usual
chants of “what a waste of money” ringing around stadiums and social media. To
a lot of people Pogba is a symbol of what is horribly wrong in the business of
football but what is never in any doubt is that he will enhance the midfield of
any team in the world. He has that rare blend of physique, technique, power and
grace. He is literally a walking, talking highlight reel and is a blockbuster
The fact the he is such an individual; with the hair and the
charged up Adidas ads, make him an easy target and let’s not forget that he is
the first footballer to have his own emoji. The launch coincided with the
Liverpool game where Pogba blessed the world with his worst performance in a
United shirt.  Questions were raised
about his “focus” and “commitment”. All those viral dancing videos with his
fellow dab brother Lingard. What would Sir Alex have done? Would he allow such
behaviour? Even former player and social media aficionado, Rio Ferdinand came
out to denounce such behaviour saying United have been stuck in 6th position since November so this was not
the time to muck about.
Image credit: Goal.com

So how has he really performed for his new (old) team so far?
Looking at his case objectively, we see that his first season as a full time
starter in England have had more ups than downs. Expectations are sky high
because of the transfer fee but in the first few games Pogba was deployed in a
deeper role in Jose’s 4-2-3-1 formation. It is not a role that makes the best
of Pogba’s many talents but it ensured a stable, if unremarkable start. When
the team were struggling for goals and confidence, Mourinho switched to a
4-3-3. This gave Pogba more license to roam forward and we started to see the
full range of his game. The through passes, the long diagonals, the forward
runs, the shooting power, the goal threat. Goals will always be the name of the
game and he does miss a lot of chances but he has hit the woodwork 5 times in
the league; only De Bruyne has more.

Shots on
Source: premierleague.com
28 appearances, 4 goals and 3 assists are pedestrian numbers
but if you look deeper you can get a clearer picture of his role in the team
and his true impact. From an attacking point of view he is vital as he has the
2nd most passes/touches, 4th most shots and 2nd most through balls in the
league. He obviously needs to add more goals to his game but the evidence
suggests that will come, especially if he keeps shooting. Defensively he is
more suspect; he leads the league in fouls committed and is only 53rd in terms
of tackles.  So he is definitely involved
in the team’s overall play, he never disappears even when he has a stinker but
he is on the right path of what he was always meant to be, a midfield general.
Pogba has that once in a generation talent that means he will be one of the
pretenders (along with Neymar, Bale and Griezmann) to the Ballon d’Or throne
and for now that is good enough.


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