The news that Manchester United fans around the world have been waiting for is out: Paul Pogba is officially set to complete his transfer to Manchester United in the coming days.
One of the most sought after players in world football, United have flexed their muscles and proven that they are still a top draw for world class stars of which Pogba is definitely one.
United fans are, naturally, very excited about the transfer; but how many of them actually know how good Pogba is?
Anyone can look good in a five second vine, or a four minute YouTube edit; but we’re talking about Pogba outside of these mediums. Who is he? What are his best attributes? How good, objectively, is Pogba?
The answer to those questions, to many Man Utd fans, is an unknown – and they need to know exactly what they will be getting with their new midfielder.
With that, here are FIVE things that Manchester United fans NEED to know about Paul Pogba
Everyone knows the the brief details; Paul Pogba leaves Manchester United on a free for Juventus; is signed back a few years later for almost £90m. But what was the story before he joined Juventus?
Despite what many Manchester United fans will suggest, they didn’t actually produce Pogba. The French midfielder joined United at 16, after several years playing youth football in France. After starting his youth career at Rossy-En-Brie, he then had short spells with both Torcy and Le Havre before joining United in 2009.
Pogba went pro with United in 2011, eventually going on to make just three league appearances for the side.
With Sir Alex Ferguson seemingly reluctant to push Pogba to the stars, he began to search for clubs after life in Manchester, reportedly signing a deal with Juventus several months before the end of his Manchester United contract.
After just one year as a professional footballer with Man Utd, Pogba had left the side on a free, joining Italian giants Juventus.
That’s all the trivia for your next pub quiz sorted…
You cannot talk about Paul Pogba without looking at what he has achieved so far in his career despite being just 23.
With Juventus he has dominated the Italian league, winning four Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias, two Supercoppa Italianas and finishing second in the 2014/15 Champions League. In each of those victories, Pogba himself was an absolutely crucial member of the side.
On a more personal level he has won even more; numerous team of the year nominations (including the FifaPro and Uefa Team of the Year), in addition to perhaps the most coveted award in the 2013 Golden Boy – given to the best youngster in European football.
Regardless of what people think of Pogba as a player, you cannot doubt his quality. During his spell in Italy he has won almost everything that he could possibly win – and he will no doubt continue to do the same in England next season.
His four year stint with Juventus proved to be a real coming of age for Pogba. After a slightly slow start to life at the club, Pogba quickly found himself a key cog of the Juventus machine – and once he got into the first team, he made sure that he was never out of it.
A midfielder by trade, Pogba is a commanding, powerful all-round central midfielder – he doesn’t really come under any specific definition of playing style. His style draws parallels with box-to-box stars, whilst he is also a strong dribbler, playmaker and ball winner. He isn’t held down by barriers of his position; for Juventus he was largely given a free role in the middle of that midfield.
Whilst not a prolific goalscorer, he has contributed nearly 30 league goals during his four years with the side – a pretty impressive tally.
On a basic level; Pogba is the complete midfielder, with a number of key strengths to his game – though these strengths need to be inspected in more detail…
Immediately visible to someone watching Pogba is the midfielder’s stature. He is a towering 6ft. 3″, and whilst many players are hampered by their height; Pogba is anything but. Despite possessing the frame of a man mountain, Pogba is as dynamic and technical as any man half his height.
He is towering and strong, but also possesses quick feet and powerful acceleration. He has no trouble gliding past defenders or winning a header; he is the complete midfielder in that sense.
His technical ability is a particular strength, and this is what allows him to be so good at dribbling. He has a number of tricks in his locker, with body feints a particular favourite of his. Other YouTube tricks that you no doubt have seen are his silky back heels and mesmerising outside of the foot passes across the field. He really is a joy to watch.
He is a player that somehow manages to hold on to the ball irregardless of how many players are around him at any given time.
With their £90m, Manchester United are getting a very good player – but he is not without weaknesses.
His style is no doubt not without risk, and this is something that either works out very well for the young Frenchman or leaves him red faced. Whether it be a long shot from distance or a risky pass across the midfield, his style of play could be described as ‘high risk, high reward’, which of course is fantastic when it works out, but not so good when it doesn’t.
This makes it likely that United will concede a few goals or miss a few easy chances due to Pogba’s poor decision making.
No doubt most United fans have seen a host of short clips of fantastic outside-of-the-box shots from Pogba over the last few years, and it must be said that he does posses a fine shot from distance occasionally. But for every shot he scores, he misses about 25 – that can be frustrating to watch as a fan.
This is not so much of a weakness; but you also have to look at the fee that the Pogba deal is going to cost; and you have to question whether any player is truly worth that. It is subjective of course, but that is a lot of money and Pogba would have to win the side titles on his own to truly recoup that sort of fee. It will also no doubt put the young Frenchman under pressure; though that is nothing that he isn’t already familiar with.
A player with a whole host of advantages; and a set of weaknesses that Jose Mourinho will no doubt look to weed out.