Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United this summer with his former club paying £89 million for his services from Juventus, the team he left Old Trafford for after the expiry of his contract in 2012. Just £800,000 was paid in compensation for his services, which is all in the past now and will be a lesson learned for the club. Pogba is a proficient midfielder, one capable of doing spectacular things, like he did on occasion with his former club. The Frenchman may not be a player that many would look at as a match winner, but as a midfielder, many would not turn him away from their squad based on what he can do and offer to any team. The European Championships may not have been the time where Pogba proved himself, but neither did the rest of the French squad as they did not go on to win the tournament they were hosting, like what was speculated and expected.
Pogba returning to United has solved the midfield problem that they were looking to solve. Since Roy Keane left the club, only one man – Owen Hargreaves, looked the part in filling the void left by the Irish midfielder. Injuries ended his time playing for the club, and since then, United have struggled to find the right player to fill that void. Pogba, so far, seems to be that man. Former United striker Andy Cole feels that Pogba can be the complete midfielder for the club, based on what he did over in Italy, what he achieved and how far his development has gone from the days he was on the fringes of the first team, seldom given the chance he craved for. Cole, speaking exclusively to 888Sport, said:
“I can’t see why he can’t be the complete midfielder. For such a young man to go to Italy and do what he did then, of course, he can. He can be a special player at Old Trafford and that’s why they paid all that money to bring him back.
“To cope with the price as he has done it’s just water off a duck’s back. So fair play to him to come back to Old Trafford for unfinished business and his performances have been good.
“The sad thing about reporters is that there are so many people waiting and hoping he has a bad few games. That’s the industry but I genuinely believe he will be fantastic at Manchester United.”
Pogba seems unfazed about the price he cost his club, making his second debut for the club against Southampton at Old Trafford just under three weeks ago, putting in a great performance and working well with Marouane Fellaini in midfield, also linking with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another arrival at the club in the summer. Pogba has a lot of potential, potential he can reach at the Theatre of Dreams, in time. Pogba may not yet be at the standards of former United midfielders Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, the latter is one of Pogba’s heroes, one he saw come out of retirement and effectively end his chances of solving a problem in midfield for Sir Alex Ferguson, but nobody would expect him, at the age of 23 to be that good, in a few years time, if he has not matched or bettered the ability of Keane and Scholes, the media would probably have a field day. Andy Cole, talking about Pogba, Keane, and Scholes, speaking exclusively to 888Sport, said:
“Roy and Scholesy, well I’m very biased because I played with the pair of them. Pogba has the ability to become a fantastic player. But will he surpass them two? I’ll tell you what, if he does then he’ll turn out to be some player. Those two were absolutely phenomenal.
“I’m very biased. The ’99 team was a very good team and what we achieved means a lot of people love that team and want to see Manchester United play like that team.”
Cole knows just how Keane and Scholes ticked, playing with them for the majority of his United career, becoming successful with both in the 1998/99 treble winning season where they became the first English team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, a proper treble, not a plastic one. The team back in that season was probably one of the best in terms of squad depth that I have seen in the Premier League era, although the 2008/09 squad was equally as good, but did not achieve the heights as the treble-winning squad. Pogba, providing United continue to strengthen and not rest on their laurels like they had during the latter Ferguson years, could eclipse both teams under Mourinho, which is something I am sure he will be looking to do. With the addition of Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly this summer, added to that of Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United squad, at least for the last three years, has never had that many determined winners, which will help a lot to bring back the glory days.
Read the full 888sport interview with Andy Cole, including his thoughts on how Marcus Rashford can become an Old Trafford legend.