The Paul Pogba Paradox

I have to begin this article with full disclosure. I’m the absolute antithesis of a Paul Pogba fan. I loathe the Frenchman and his attitude towards Manchester United.

There is little in his performances for United to suggest that he should have ever been re-signed. Moreover, I don’t believe that he has the best interests of this team at heart. Reacquiring Paul Pogba did not turnout to be the triumphant return that we were told it was going to be. Instead, it was a media ploy designed by Ed Woodward to give a boost to Manchester United’s marketing portfolio.

Paul Pogba is an extremely valuable name in the world of football because of his potential. At the time of his signing, Ed Woodward’s eyes must have been watering at the prospect of Pogba in the starting eleven. After five years at the club, I have no doubt that Pogba’s effect on Manchester United’s marketing revenue has been greater then his effect on the team. So, why does he deserve the acclaim and credibility he has?

Pogba has won the World Cup and a bunch of trophies in Italy, and that should not go unrecognized. But, his trophy cabinet does not make him the next Cantona. It also doesn’t make him a great United player when so few of those trophies are with United. Other than his own self-aggrandized media profile Paul Pogba has been average at best for United.

He is in no way deserving of the status he has claimed let alone the wages he has commanded.

What has Pogba Done for Us Lately?

Evra slams some Man Utd fans over Pogba comments - Football365

I am tired of Pogba’s fluctuating and pedestrian performances for Manchester United.

I hate his agent, Mino Raiola (aka Jabba the Hut) spouting his mouth to the press.

His noncommittal attitude towards his future with United is frustrating and distracting

I am tired of other fans defending him because he has, on occasion, looked a glimmer of his true self.

Some one explain to all of us why there is such a stark contrast in his performances for United and the French national side.

I am tired of one moment of Pogba brilliance justifying all his commonplace below average performances.

Ole trying to put together a team that suites Pogba when Pogba doesn’t take his opportunities at club level is no longer an effective tactic to win games.

I really hate seeing players like Donny van de Beek, Hannibal Mejbri and James Garner being stifled in their development because of the need to have Pogba in the lineup.

I am tired of Pogba and Raiola being the point that hinges big name transfers in and out of United.

It is beyond disrespectful to United fans that Pogba keeps selling his return to United as unfinished business when it clearly isn’t

I am tired of Paul Pogba!

The Reality of Paul Pogba

marcus rashford
Credit: Image: FootTheBall

Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t believe that Pogba had the character to be a Manchester United player. No one can deny the talent, technical ability and understanding of the game of the Frenchman. But, Ferguson denied that he had the mental fortitude and attitude to fulfill his potential in Manchester. Furthermore, he has openly said in his book and interviews that he recognizes the player that Pogba is, but his agent is a locus and a virus on his clients and the teams that they play for.

We are a team that thrives on the mentality of its players ahead of their skills as a footballer. Moreover, Ferguson determined at a young age that Pogba wasn’t of the ilk necessary to apply his latent abilities to their fullest in a team like Manchester United, a team that requires a special level of motivation and dedication.

What is Paul Pogba’s True Motive?

Manchester United relaxed over 'FIFA investigation' into Paul Pogba's world  record £89m move from Juventus - Mirror Online
Credit: Image: The Mirror

Pogba has continuously underperformed for United. In spite of his mediocre performances he is about to be offered a bumper deal, rumored to make him the highest paid player in the Premier League. Again, I believe this is a direct result of his attraction to potential sponsors and not his performances on the pitch.

I believe his motivation to coming back to Manchester is to collect a fat paycheck and rub it in Sir Alex’s face at the same time. This is to say, Paul Pogba is more interested in Paul Pogba then he is in Manchester United.

Ole has proven, with players like Lukaku that this is not how he wants his players to behave. Unfortunately for Ole’s cultural reboot, Woodward needs Pogba’s marketing pull. The extra money having a player like Pogba brings to a sponsorship deal is huge because all of the major brands want to see their gear in the hands of a player like him. This gives Woodward appeal and leverage when negotiating a deal.

Paul Pogba’s roll in and profiteering of Manchester United’s marketing portfolio is profound without a doubt. Moreover, it has been to the benefit of Ed Woodward.

The Paul Pogba that won the World Cup was a man on a mission. He was intent on proving he was deserving of the title of the best player of his generation.

However, the player Manchester United got is a man on a mission to boost his social media profile, collect an eyewatering paycheck and rub it in the face of his haters.

Jabba the Hut

Paul Pogba's Agent Raiola Slams Man Utd Transfer Rumours - FootTheBall

Paul Pogba isn’t the only problem in this sadistic love triangle between player and club. His agent is the closest to a footballing evil supervillain that you can get.  

For the last 36 months Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola has regularly come out in the media to claim that his client needs a change of scenery. These comments are inflammatory enough on their own, but his timing when making his remarks makes them even more disruptive. A large part of being dumped out of the Champions league by RB Leipzig is a direct result of Pogba and Raiola.

The night before we played Leipzig, Raiola announced in the media that Pogba was looking for greener pastures. Largely because of those comments Pogba started that game on the bench. There is no way to guarantee that Pogba starting would have won the game for us. However, if Pogba is the player that so many people claim he is then YES, he could have single handedly won that game for us.

Raiola isn’t just a thorn in the side with regards to Pogba. He roadblocked a deal for Haaland before Haaland moved to Dortmund. Raiola’s reported agents’ fees were more then the transfer fee alone. His agent fees also proved a problem for United when Matthijs de Ligt left Ajax for Juve.

Raiola also negotiated the deal that saw Lukaku go to Inter, a deal we still have not gotten paid on.

He also sold Woodward on Henrikh Mikhitaryan, another expensive flop. We didn’t just lose money when we sold Mikhitaryan. We used him as a makeweight for the Alexis Sanchez deal. ANOTHER EXPENSIVE FLOP!! Thank you, Raiola.

The French Connection

Paul Pogba Man Utd message France World Cup final
Credit: Image: The Express

Pogba’s performances for France since the World Cup have been outstanding. As a result of his performance at the World Cup he deserves a huge amount of respect. Every time he plays for Les Bleus he seems to be lights out for no discernable reason.

The problem that Manchester United and all of us fans must contend with are the vast dissimilarities in his performances, drive and compassion between club and country. I won’t deny that playing for your national team is special and gives extra motivation. I will argue that the difference in your performance levels between the two shouldn’t be so vast.

Paul Pogba is a phenomenal player. He is a beast on the field and a leader of men…For France. For Manchester United he concedes more penalties and gives the ball away more then any other player. He also rarely gets amongst the goals, and is a passenger in too many games.

Pogba’s Stats Miss the Mark

I realize that so far most of my argument is based on my own conjecture. However, his statistics don’t give him any more of a leg to stand on than my theoretical ramblings.

His numbers haven’t changed from his time at Juventus. Even more damming, These numbers are barely average and don’t stack up with the rest of Europe’s elite midfielders. The statistics below are an indictment of his self proclaimed status.

PlayerGoalsAssistsPass %Chances CreatedGiveawaysMinutes Played
Paul Pogba6783%94972,861
Toni Kroos31290%165243,193
Luka Modric6688%129693,721
Kevin de Bruyne101875%168693,043
Bruno Fernandes281775%229874,584
Hakan Calhanoglu5978%194952,968
Ilkay Gundogan17592%105353,383
Joshua Kimmich61484%158483,323
Paul Pogba’s attacking statistics as compared to other elite European midfielders.

He definitely has a reasonable pass percentage, by any standard. However, his numbers don’t reflect the abilities of one of the world’s best midfielders.

His goal involvements, chances created, and goals and assists per game are all lower than his contemporaries. Lastly, he has given away the ball far more than most of his contemporaries and surrendered more penalties then any of his teammates.

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

Manchester United fans mock Jonjo Shelvey following horror tackle on Paul  Pogba | Daily Mail Online

His stats simply don’t give him a leg to stand on and his agent is a troll. And for all of his supposed media and marketing pull he helped us land TeamViewer (sense my disdain and sarcasm). Pogba’s lack of commitment to the team also makes it difficult to pursue players like his France international teammate Rafael Varane.

His occasional swagger and Paul Scholes-esque pass are nothing to suggest that he is worth the $400k a week offer he has on the table to stay at United. He has a profound popularity in the dressing room, but the occasional moment on the pitch is just not enough to keep him. Simply put, his mentality is detrimental to the development of a cohesive team mentality because of it’s egocentric nature.

Pogba is in the last year of his contract and is seems as if he intends to run his contract down until next summer to leave on a free transfer. As a result, he has no real value as a United player next season. He is simply more valuable as an asset to fund a deal or trade for Varane or Ronaldo. Both of these players would provide us with more balance to our team then Pogba.

Manchester United performed better last season when Pogba got benched. The the same happened again this season when he was out of the team due to injury.

My Feudal Rant

Regardless of his talent, he throws off the balance of the team for no other reason then we can sit and hope he produces a single moment of brilliance that rarely comes. For a world class player, he only seems to perform well in a single position, as a left sided attacking midfielder (again, sense my disdain). What’s more, Pogba’s one dimensionality displaces Rashford (our second leading goal scorer and assist holder).

A player of his class should be able to perform at their peak in a multitude of positions, but Pogba only seems to peak when playing for France or occasionally out of the blue for United. Compared to the versatility of Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and the incoming Jadon Sancho, Pogba is the definition of monotone. Even Scot McTominay’s consistency and versatility has surpassed Pogba’s.

I could forgive everything else if Pogba had the impact on the field of Cristiano Ronaldo, but he hasn’t. Ronaldo flirted with Real Madrid for two years before we sold him. I ignored my resulting frustration with him because he was a consistent lights out performer on the field. Pogba has not done the same. Regardless, he’s managed to command the same status, respect and salary. It simply isn’t worth it.

For so many, many reasons, Manchester United need to move on from Paul Pogba.

Glory, Glory Man United.

About Keagan Priest McNicol 40 Articles
My Name is Keagan. I am a lifelong fan of the Red Devils and the beautiful game. My favorite things in the world are my family and friends, Manchester United, good food, the great outdoors, sarcasm and tennis. Green and gold until the club is sold.

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  1. Welcome Christian Eriksen, to Manchester United!

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