Controversies constantly surround Paul Pogba. After all, United bought him for $107 million, making him the most expensive transfer in Manchester United history. The difficult part is that at his best, Paul Pogba is world-class. He goes through dry spells too, but when Pogba is in form it gets difficult to name players who perform better than him.
The majority of issues around him come from one stem; Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, creates the fires in the media. These fires create rumors of dislike and harsh criticisms around Pogba. While the rumors still came this season, Ole Gunnar handled them and got Pogba back in form.
“Paul is our player…not Mino’s.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s response to Mino’s comments in the media, was perfect. Still, the most controversial agent in football took issue with it. However, the importance of Ole saying, “Paul is our player…not Mino’s” shows that United will not be taking on any more media fights. Ole stood up to the agent and dropped the issue.
In the football world of 2021, it’s unusual for managers to leave things unresolved in the press. Ole’s statement created clear intent, Paul Pogba is a Manchester United player and he has a job to do.
Treating Him Like Anyone Else
Multiple past managers struggled to deal with a quality player with a large personality like Pogba. Ole responded to this issue by treating him like any other player. Most notably, Pogba received a start on the bench for multiple matches. Despite Pogba being high-profile, he eased his way back into United’s system. First coming on as a sub to regain form and then hitting peaks while starting matches.
Since Pogba began clicking in December, United has too. A massive reason for United’s high position in the table is that Pogba got back to performing at a high level. Credit in full to Pogba for getting his form back, but also to Bruno for taking some creative responsibility off of him and Ole for soothing the former hot rumors around the Frenchman.
Let Him Flourish -But Look for Replacements
Ole’s 4-2-3-1 system did not originally fit Pogba well. The double-pivot places too high of defensive responsibility on Pogba for him to get high forward. He prefers a 4-3-3 system that Juventus used, with a lone CDM behind two central midfielders. However, United’s 4-2-3-1 formation continues to develop and benefits Pogba more now that the full-backs push higher. This lets Pogba get back to playing his best and United will surely need to continue using him during this run of form.
Still though, Pogba looks to move on in the summer transfer window. If he were to leave, United created options with their replacements. Last summer’s signing, Donny van de Beek, easily fits the role of replacing Pogba. If van de Beek doesn’t step up and develop in the pivot, United still has options in the transfer market like Declan Rice.
In short, United prepared themselves for Paul Pogba’s departure, but until then Pogba will receive crucial game time as he is one of the best players in England.
Glory Glory Man United.
Written by CJ Szaz.