It seems there isn’t a summer transfer window that goes by without some sort of drama centred on the future of Paul Pogba. Much of that is likely intentional of course, with media hype probably serving to improve a player’s leverage in any negotiations with their current club or potential suitors.
His rejection of United’s most recent eye-wateringly large contract offer (allegedly worth around £250,000 per week) will not have gone unnoticed in Paris. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by the bookies either, who now have Pogba odds on to make the move to PSG before September 1. A cheeky punt on that doesn’t look like a bad shout given PSG’s aggression in the transfer market so far this summer. By taking advantage of one of the top new customer offers listed on My Betting Sites, you could effectively turn that into a risk-free or free bet, too.
At 28 years old, the Manchester United star probably has only one or two bumper contracts left before the big clubs move on to the next generation of talent. United have a tough decision to make in terms of when they should give up and leave Pogba to either find a new club or to run down the remainder of his 12-month contract.
That decision is especially tough given Pogba is undoubtedly one of the most gifted midfielders in the game at the moment. Few, if any, possess the combination of technical ability and physical presence that makes him so effective. He was instrumental in France’s 2018 World Cup win and on occasions over the last season or two he has truly looked like a man amongst boys with his performances for United.
However, the word ‘occasions’ is key here. It’s fair to say that for all his talent, Pogba can be frustratingly inconsistent. His display in France’s recent Euro 2020 last-16 match against Switzerland in particular was like a microcosm of his career to date.
15 minutes after Karim Benzema’s second goal put France in the lead, the Real Madrid man’s speculative attempt at a third was blocked by Granit Xhaka and the ball fell at Pogba’s feet, fully 30 yards from goal. Perfect control to kill the ball was followed by the deftest of second touches to set up a potential opportunity and cause French fans in Bucharest, and around the world, to scream ‘tirez!’. And Paul duly obliged, sending the ball on a bafflingly beautiful bending trajectory into the top corner past a stumped Yann Sommer.
If ever there was a goal worthy of the three or four separate celebration moves that Pogba appendaged to it, this was it. At 3-1 up with a quarter of an hour to play, France were perhaps already thinking about the quarter final. Instead, the game will be remembered for Les Bleus’ late implosion, in which Pogba played an ignominiously starring role.
In the 90th minute, he conceded possession in the centre of midfield to Xhaka, who picked out a line-breaking pass to Mario Gavranovich to fire in a wonderful equaliser. If that wasn’t bad enough, reports flew out from an unhappy France camp after their exit on penalty kicks alleging that several of Pogba’s teammates had become exasperated by the midfielder’s lack of defensive enthusiasm. Pogba ‘lost the plot’, according to France and Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit.
The very best and very worst of Paul Pogba in a single game. So, Manchester United must ask themselves – is it worth it? Are there better options out there? If Pogba’s departure frees up funds to strengthen the defensive midfield positions and allows Donny van de Beek (who looked like a world-beater in Ajax’s 2018/19 Champions League run) more minutes, there may not be too many United fans complaining.