This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Writing in his column for The Daily Mail, Danny Murphy has suggested PSG midfielder Marco Verratti would have been “ideal” for Manchester United.
Murphy has now insisted United’s problems lay in not having someone to fill the boots of Michael Carrick, and revealed someone like Verratti could release Pogba from his defensive shackles.
Watch Manchester United Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
He said: “The United squad has been a mish-mash of players signed by different managers. The one constant in recent times however is that they’ve not found a midfield player to replace Michael Carrick. Matic is solid, Scott McTominay is solid, but they aren’t Carrick. Pogba tries to do the job but he hasn’t got the defensive awareness Carrick had, he is best served further up the pitch.
“For me, it’s a glaring miss that has affected United’s whole build-up play. Manchester City have a player who can do it, Fernandinho. Someone like Marco Verratti at PSG would have been ideal. He came to Old Trafford with his side and ran the show. When I see Pogba, I see player who can see a pass, shoot with both feet, and make things happen.
“Pogba has played as one of the two deep-lying midfielders but United need to be dominating the ball for him to effective. United don’t so it doesn’t work.”
As Murphy says, having Pogba play as part of the deeper-lying midfield two robs the France World Cup winner of his natural attacking instincts. In his final season at Juventus, the 26-year-old racked up eight goals and 12 assists in Serie A, but it was his under-lying numbers that really showed his contributions going forward.
The Frenchman averaged 3.5 shots and 2.9 dribbles per game – two figures that comfortably better what he has been producing this season in the Premier League (1.8 shots and 1.5 dribbles respectively). If United have someone like Verratti to control the pattern of the play from deep, and find Pogba in more advanced areas, he could do a whole lot more damage.
The 5 foot 5 magician has averaged an eye-watering 84.9 passes per game in Ligue 1, at an accuracy of 93.1%.
Whether United could convince the French giants to part with the 26-year-old, or whether the midfielder would even be prepared to join however, is another matter altogether.