Everybody knows what a talented player Paul Pogba is. One of the biggest stars in the football world, Pogba has pushed himself into the top tier of players. He’s scored 49 career goals at age 25 and serves a vital role for Manchester United. Further proof of Pogba’s greatness is the record transfer fee required to bring him back to Old Trafford in 2016.
But with that rarified talent accompanying Pogba is an enormous salary United must pay each year. The Frenchman is one of the best midfielders in football, but is he worth the gaudy £290k per-week price tag? Paying a premier figure for great players is mandatory at times, but with such a hefty sum, a close examination of assets is necessary to determine whether an alternative option may be needed.
There are a multitude of options to consider, but one Man United should keep an eye on is the Serbian Sergej Milinković-Savić. A 23-year-old midfielder, Milinković-Savić has made quite a name for himself in the past year.
Milinković-Savić has always been a player laced with potential, and he turned that into a fantastic season for Lazio in 2017-18. After scoring a combined 13 goals over his first four professional conquests, the Serbian broke out last season, notching 14 goals, three assists and an 80 per cent pass success.
After a productive season and ahead of an expectations-filled 2018 World Cup in which Serbia were placed in Group E, Milinković-Savić’s name has become more and more recognisable. As he grows in profile, so does his future price tag, which leaves just a few wealthy teams with the means and hunger to pounce on the young talent.
One would think that with the potential and pedigree of the Serbian, the top European clubs will be eager to acquire the 23-year-old’s talents. Despite just coming off another Champions League title victory, Real Madrid could find it a perfect fit to put Milinkovic-Savic alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos. Likewise, the Red Devils have already secured Fred and Diogo Dalot this offseason, but adding Milinkovic-Savic to the mix would only make their midfield that much more potent.
But if Manchester United do outbid the other European teams and shell out what will likely be more than £100million, would it even make sense? It’d be nearly impossible for the Red Devils to field a midfield of Pogba – Milinković-Savić – Fred because of the massive cost that would ensue, so should they consider replacing Pogba with Milinković-Savić?
When comparing the two midfielders, it’s easy to see the similarities. Both Pogba and Milinković-Savić play with an offensive style and possess a penchant for creating goal scoring opportunities. Due to that same offensive style, both players have lacked at times on the defensive end as a result.
Overall, the results reveal near-identical players. However, Milinković-Savić has an edge in a few categories that might prove he can be a better alternative. During the 2017-18 season for Lazio, the Serbian netted 10 goals and created 1.5 chances per game. Those figures are a tick better than Pogba’s respective 6 and 1.3.
Pogba’s numbers though might infer he’s a better creator, as he had seven more assists than Milinkovic-Savic and had 2.7 dribbles per game last season. If United choose Milinković-Savić, they might find it difficult to make up for the distributing skills of the Frenchman.
Nonetheless, with an encouraging breakout season, Milinković-Savić has proven himself worthy of a sizable contract from one of the premier clubs in Europe. Given the chance, the Red Devils shouldn’t hesitate to make an offer.
Which midfielder would you rather see in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI next season? Let us know by voting below…
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