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The problems with Paul Pogba that need to be solved – a lack of consistency and a lack respect

Paul Pogba left Manchester United as a free agent in the summer of 2012, which at the time was considered a loss for United and then manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Pogba left for Juventus, signing as a free agent which meant that United would only receive compensation for the development of the player whilst he was part of the academy, which stood at £800,000, leaving the club at the age of 19. Pogba made his first team debut for United in the 2011/12 season, making a total of seven appearances, playing in the Premier League, the Carling Cup and the UEFA Europa League – playing a total of 195 minutes of football.

Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola seemed to open his mouth again, negatively (in relation to United) regarding Pogba’s future at the Old Trafford club. He gave the impression that the Frenchman wants to leave the club, which could well be the case. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano covered the quotes from Italian news source Tuttosport which talked about Erling Braut Haaland and Pogba even talking about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The comments came just over 24 hours before United’s UEFA Champions League clash with RB Leipzig in Germany which is a make or break match for United. Raiola was quoted as saying:

“[Erling Braut] Haaland is like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic when he was 20. [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer is a good guy but he was wrong when he said that Erling is like [Romelu] Lukaku… it would be better if Solskjaer thought about finding a way to make [Paul] Pogba play like a champion, instead of talking about Haaland.

“Haaland is like a painting, he is like Munch’s Scream because he causes fear in the defenders. He called me after being substituted at 85: he had scored four goals, he wanted to score another. He was furious! He wants to be the best also if he’s playing checkers.

“I can’t talk about Haaland release clause. Rumors say Real Madrid want him? This is not new to me… but he is very happy with Borussia Dortmund. Erling wants to win the UEFA Champions League. When he’ll leave the club, it will be for his ambition and not for money.

“Maybe Juventus could be Pogba’s next club… why not? The relationship between Paul, Juventus and former teammates is excellent. But with the Covid impact, many clubs can’t sign him. For sure, it’s time to leave Manchester United.”

Raiola stated that Solskjaer should be finding a way for Pogba to play like a champion. Surely that would be down to Pogba to do that. Over the past few seasons, Pogba has been average for United which is a problem for both the player and the club. If Pogba was all that his agent thinks that he is, surely United would not have had to sign both Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek over the last two transfer windows (January 2020 and Summer 2020). Gary Neville tweeted on Monday evening, suggesting that Pogba will have know about Raiola’s comments and if not, he should be coming forward with a statement to distance himself.

A lot of United supporters have been less than impressed with Pogba’s performances for the club over the past few seasons. In the 2018/19 season, Pogba scored 16 goals and 11 assists in 47 appearances – which was the best season he has ever had for a club. At the time, it seemed like a defining moment for positivity but turned into what seems like the peak of his career. The following season saw him on the sidelines through injury for the majority of it and this season, he has been less than impressive when he has played. It seems that Pogba sees other people to blame for his demise, when he would be the first person to apportion blame to.

Before Fernandes signed for United, Pogba would most likely be the player that player in the number ten role at the club, which is a position he had played in for a lot of the time under Jose Mourinho. But with Fernandes’ start to life at United, Pogba would have to settle for a role out of that area either in a midfield diamond or a midfield two, playing in a pivot role. This is clearly not good enough for Pogba or his agent. Not that long ago, France manager Didier Deschamps criticised United for how they were treating Pogba only for the player to play in a similar position for France and perform poorly for his country.

Up until today, Tuesday 8 December 2020, Pogba has played 170 times since making his return to the club in the summer of 2016. He has scored 34 goals and 35 assists playing 13,482 minutes of football. Statistically, this means that the Frenchman has offered 0.2 goals per appearance and 0.41 goal contributions (goals and assists) per appearance. He has offered one goal every 397 minutes with a goal contribution every 195 minutes. Some may think there are great stats but for a player that only seems to want to be the main man in the team, the stats are quite poor.

Fernandes has been at United since the end of January, not even spending a full calendar year at the Old Trafford club yet and has better stats than Pogba. The Portuguese midfielder has made 38 appearances for the club, scoring 22 goals and 15 assists in 2,987 minutes of football. This means that Fernandes has scored 0.58 goals per match and 0.97 goal contributions (goals and assists) every appearance. He has scored a goal every 136 minutes, with a goal contribution every 81 minutes. This is why Fernandes is the player that will most often play in the number ten role at the club.

If Pogba wants to take this position, he will need to out perform Fernandes or at least show that he is capable of doing what the Portuguese midfielder does, which does not seem all that likely, in my opinion. It is a shame that this is happening. Pogba seemed excited to return to United four years ago but the summer before last showed that he wanted a change, which also suggests that everything he said in 2016 was just for the sake of saying something, not saying it with meaning. United need to deal with Pogba in the right way, ensuring that they are not lumbered with a player that does not want to be there.

The question would be who would want him and who could afford him? The footballing world is still aiming to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Supporters are just starting to return to matches in small numbers and it will be a long time before clubs start to recover financially from this. Juventus are said to be interested in re-signing the Frenchman but at this moment in time, it seems unlikely that they could afford him without adding a player, or a number of players, in a possible deal. That could easily be scuppered as United will not necessarily want players in exchange for the Frenchman. A cash deal would be next to impossible.

There have been suggestions of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the Old Trafford club, so if United were interested in making that happen, there could be some interest in the deal but it would not necessarily be a great deal for United, given the age of the Portuguese winger and the fact his resale value will greatly reduce over time so United would be wise to ask for the player plus cash for a deal to happen. Pogba has also been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona over the past few summers and it would seem that both clubs would find a possible deal for the Frenchman hard to make possible – for the same reason as Juventus.

It is an unfortunate situation for Pogba and United to be in. Pogba’s contract would be set to expire in the summer of 2021 but when he signed his contract in the summer of 2016, there was a clause added for a further year, which has seemingly been activated, although there has been no confirmation from the Old Trafford club regarding this. Ideally, if Pogba wanted to stay at United and ‘finish what he started’, he should get rid of his agent and concentrate on his career not some pipe dream that Raiola has been telling him about – of course, that is just my opinion, not an actual fact. I don’t think Raiola is a positive role model.

Written by John Walker

Real Madrid reportedly willing to spend £150 million to sign Paul Pogba this summer

Real Madrid is reportedly ready to launch a £150 million bid for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba this summer. It is also reported that the Spanish club would give the Frenchman the same wage as Gareth Bale, £600,000 a week, providing the Welshman leaves the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, which is what Zinedine Zidane wants.

Spanish newspaper AS carry these reports which suggest Real Madrid are seeking to get their summer rebuilding plan in action again after already signing many players, including Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo and now the club must balance the books before aiming to sign Pogba or anyone else.

Zidane has been clear that Bale has no future at the Bernabeu this summer and that he needs to leave the club. Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett has not been happy with the comments and suggested that the player will not leave the club on loan and could remain for three more years, until the expiry of his contract. Zidane, talking about Bale, said:

“We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.

“I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done. I have to make decisions. We have to change.

“The exit is the coach’s decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.

“The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will – and it’s a good thing for everyone.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like Pogba to remain at the Old Trafford club this summer and despite Pogba suggesting earlier in the summer that he may want a new challenge, the Norwegian is adamant that the French midfielder will not be leaving the club this summer. This may not be an easy transfer for Real Madrid but they do have time on their side.

The Premier League transfer window closes in just over a fortnight meaning that if Pogba is to leave the Old Trafford club this summer, his departure would need to happen soon so that United can bring in a replacement, or that a deal must be agreed for him to leave later in the summer, with the Spanish transfer window closing on the 31 August.

United are linked with many midfielders this summer from Sean Longstaff to Bruno Fernandes to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Some reports suggest that Milinkovic-Savic will be United’s replacement for Pogba, should the Frenchman actually leave the club this summer. Obviously, United will need to sign a replacement inside the next fortnight, otherwise it will be too late and Pogba will not be allowed to leave.

United should be seeking to ensure they have a backup for Pogba, should he decide to upset the apple cart closer to the closure of the transfer window in England, United would need to be prepared to bring in a player to replace him at short notice. Also, they should consider telling Pogba that if he does want to leave this summer, there will be a deadline for doing so.

Mino Raiola issues statement about Paul Pogba’s Manchester United future; confident he will leave this summer

Mino Raiola has made a statement to the media about the transfer speculation of his top client, Paul Pogba. The French midfielder is currently linked with an exit from Manchester United with both Real Madrid and Juventus interested in the player, but United would only seemingly sell him for £150 million.

It is stated by Raiola that he hopes Pogba and United will reach a ‘satisfying solution’ in the very near future. Juventus have been rumoured to be making an opening offer for Pogba soon and the Madrid club is looking to get James Rodriguez’s move to Napoli completed so they can enter the race to sign the Frenchman.

It was reported that Madrid feels that Pogba would snub a return to Juventus to link up with Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. Gareth Bale was offered to United but the chance of that was scuppered by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who obviously does not want the Welsh winger at the club. Raiola is confident Pogba will be on his way this summer. Speaking to talkSPORT, he said:

“The player has done nothing wrong. He’s been professional and respectful.

“The club has known his feelings for a long time. Hopefully, there will soon be a satisfying solution for all parties.”

A few weeks ago, whilst in an Adidas promotional tour in Japan, Pogba announced to the world that it might be time for a new challenge. A year ago, he wanted to leave for Barcelona. It is clear he never wanted a return to United, a club he stated that he had ‘unfinished business’ with. That business now seems to be in the past, whatever it was. He’s done nothing of note. Whilst in Japan, Pogba said:

“Like you said, there is a lot of talking and a lot of thinking as well.

“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well. I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.

“I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else.”

Pogba was signed by Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2016, returning to the Old Trafford club for an £89 million fee, four years after Sir Alex Ferguson saw the player leave as a free agent, choosing not to sign the contract he was offered. At that time, Ferguson had Raiola’s cards marked, something which has runt true over the past three years.

Despite his statistics last season, Pogba has been a player who has not put 100% effort in 100% of the time. He has jogged, sometimes walked through matches, seldom put the effort in and seen opposition players run past him, which saw them either scoring goals or creating chances, which was an embarrassing time for the club.

To be honest, I cannot wait to see the back of the player that was given a second chance to shine at this prestigious club. He wasted that opportunity and should be forgotten about. The Pogba fans on social media will tell you that you are racist because you criticise the player. It is not racist to suggest Pogba has an ego, a bad attitude and a poor work ethic. These are facts.

Paul Pogba has one issue in his Manchester United career and that is Mino Raiola

Before you summon the pitchforks and call me Graeme Souness (I can’t even bear to write his name down), I’d like you all to know that I think Paul Pogba is undoubtedly the best midfielder in the Premier League right now and has the potential to become the best in the world. I personally couldn’t care less what Pogba wears, what he dances to or what his hair looks like, my judgment of Pogba is down to one thing and one thing alone, his performance on the pitch.

Since Pogba’s renaissance, he has been in unstoppable form scoring six goals and assisting another four since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s been at the wheel. Mind you, still some way to go before some sections of the Manchester United fan base forgive him for seemingly downing his tools in Jose Mourinho’s last (half) season at the helm, but he’s slowly getting there or for his ‘Caption This’ tweet a few minutes after Mourinho’s sacking was announced in the media.

That, however, is the past, looking at Pogba’s future at United and it seems to bright one with nothing keeping him from showing his true ability, well unless his agent doesn’t cause any issues or unnecessary drama. Mino Raiola, a name synonymous with some of football’s biggest names including Manchester United’s former Swedish hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verratti, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mario Balotelli, promising goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and many more.

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Whilst he’s trusted and loved by his players, it’s safe to say he doesn’t share the same relationship with the United faithful or Sir Alex Ferguson with the latter going on to say “There are one or two football agents I simply do not like and Mino Raiola is one of them,” about the agent.

Raiola hasn’t helped his reputation with United fans, especially last season when Pep Guardiola (another manager continuously feuding with the agent) revealed that Raiola allegedly offered Pogba to him, Raiola didn’t deny this by going on to say; “I offer players not to him but to Manchester City.”

Earlier this season Raiola decided to attack Paul Scholes after Scholes criticised Pogba after United’s defeat to Brighton, Raiola went on to say in a tweet that “Some people need to talk for fear of being forgotten. Paul Scholes wouldn’t recognise a leader if he was in front of Sir Winston Churchill.” It’s safe to say that after offering Pogba to City and attacking a club legend, Raiola has the same place Carlos Tevez does in the United faithful’s hearts.

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This, however, isn’t the first time that Raiola has provoked the ire of one of his client’s club and their fans after Gianluigi Donnarumma’s contract renewal issues got to a stage where AC Milan fans turned on the player and the agent and jeered the young goalkeeper on the pitch.

It’s highly unlikely that Pogba would part ways with Raiola, in fact, I’m more inclined to think that he’d sooner part ways with the club rather than his agent, however, his recent comments about United’s history; “Manchester United is the biggest club in England, that’s for sure. When you ask the players ‘when you come to England who do you want to play for?’ they all have the same answer,” are more than welcome and could be a sign of the player’s loyalty to the club.

Pogba’s contract at Manchester United expires in 2021, if he does see it out, it’s renewal will undoubtedly come down to the nod of one man; Mino Raiola, it will be interesting to see if Pogba does put loyalty to the club first or move on. Without a doubt, the United faithful will hope he stays on and sees the rest of his career out the club without Mino Raiola causing unnecessary drama and hassle as his agent and who can blame them?

Written by John Grech

World record signing Paul Pogba was a bargain, says Mino Raiola

Manchester United signed Paul Pogba from Italian side Juventus last summer for a world record £89 million fee. Many seemed to moan about the fee, the player and the fact football seems to have been killed off by huge transfer fees, despite option for another explanation to the fact teams like Manchester City throw money at their problem areas, always seeming to throw more money at the problems caused by throwing money at those problem areas, if you get what I mean. Pogba left United for summers prior to his return with United losing out on a player with huge potential, hence the club willing to pay the massive fee to sign their man last summer, with the players salivating a return to the Theatre of Dreams under the management of Jose Mourinho, a clear winner in the game, as Chelsea well knew and did not appreciate enough.

Mino Raiola, the agent of Pogba who made an estimated £41 million from the transfer of the 24-year-old Frenchman last summer, spoke to talkSPORT, reported by The Mirror, about the deal, suggesting that the £89 million United paid for the player will be seen as a bargain in the years to come. Pogba still has that potential and despite the ABU’s and those fickle football fans suggesting the player had failed at United, that is far from the truth. Yes, Pogba has not lit the stage a light in the Premier League, but looking back at his past four seasons with Juventus, his level of consistency seems to have come to the Premier League with him. Some think that a huge transfer fee guarantees goals, those people need to stick to playing FIFA 17 and Football Manager. Raiola, speaking about the transfer, said:

“I think that Paul Pogba was a cheap buy if you see the market now. Who bought him at that time for that money did a good deal.”

Right now there are many players with potential who have high transfer fees. Look at AS Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe who will cost in excess of €100 million to any clubs this summer and he is only 18 years old. That would be like asking the same amount of money for Marcus Rashford a year ago, a player who made his rise into the first team earlier that season, scoring a few goals and looking pretty talented on the pitch, which is still the case with Rashford now. Asking the equivalent of €100 million for him would be mad. Everton value Romelu Lukaku at £100 million, which is an obscene amount of money, but he was one of the forwards in the Premier League to score plenty of goals last season, 24 in actual fact. Those fees, if paid this summer, will represent Pogba as a bargain as what Manchester United paid for has not yet developed into the player he could be, keeping on the right track of course.

It is just funny that some Manchester City supporters have ridiculed United for paying the money to get Pogba, yet a year before they were wanting the Etihad club to do the same in bringing the talented Frenchman to their club. It would seem that if Pogba had signed for any of his critic’s clubs, he would be a top player, but at United, he is an expensive flop. That right there is how you tell the hate factor has returned, which is a great start to getting Manchester United back to where they belong – Hated, adored, never ignored.

Manchester United respond to FIFA’s investigation into Paul Pogba’s transfer

Manchester United’s world record transfer of Paul Pogba is being investigated by FIFA, according to multiple reports. Whilst no information into the specifics of the investigation, that did not stop the ABU’s from coming up with their own (uneducated) aspersions of the investigation, suggesting Pogba was a fraud, United have overpaid by about £79 million and other pathetic nonsense. Some were suggesting United be deducted points, endure a transfer ban and even be kicked out of the Premier League – which is moronic in itself as no specifics of the investigation have been released. On Monday, some leaks were reported on the size of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wage at United, including his goal bonus. Some information about Pogba’s transfer from Juventus was also released. It would seem that the fee of agent Mino Raiola is the main part of the investigation, but I stress that this has not yet been confirmed.

Many find this funny that FIFA have launched an investigation, when no so long ago, it was them being investigated by their own ethics committee. That aside, it is obviously something which needs to be done, especially in big transfers such as this one. The timing of the reports are something of an issue,which could put United and Pogba off their game at an important part of the season for them, just two days prior to the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg at Old Trafford, of which United have a one-goal advantage from the victory over Celta Vigo in Spain almost a week ago. United and Pogba though seem to be ignoring the reports as I am sure they are partial to a bit more information than was leaked earlier in the week. That aside though, it is funny to see how desperate the ABU’s are for this mud to stick on United and Pogba, when more likely, it will be other parts of the transfer, probably absolving both United and their player.

Of course, that will mean there has been a cover-up by the Football Association, FIFA and Manchester United, as we all know that United are the be all and end all of world football, controlling every governing body around the world, ensuring that everything falls in their favour. In case you did not understand, I was being sarcastic. Pogba’s transfer from Juventus cost United £89 million, of which Raiola was set to make around £21 million. Earlier today, the Manchester Evening News reported that Raiola may have made £41 million, which could be cause for concern for the player’s agent in the midst of the FIFA investigation. The Manchester Evening News reported that a Manchester United spokesman gave them a statement, also suggesting that they are yet to hear from FIFA about the investigation, of which the paperwork has been with them since the transfer went through back in August 2016, some nine months ago now. The statement was short and sweet, saying:

“We don’t comment on contracts. FIFA have had the documents since the transfer was completed last August.”

It would see that United are calm during this investigation, knowing that they only paid the transfer fee placed on the French midfielder’s head last summer, with some complications in the deal, which seem to have been ironed out before the transfer was finalised nine months ago. It would seem that the investigation being leaked to the world media seems to have excited football supporters around the world, all loving the fact that Pogba, a player they do not seem to rate after this season, has seemingly not found his feet at Manchester United, or in the Premier League, which is not the case. Some football fans choose what they want to see, ignoring all facts, and those facts suggest that Pogba is still doing well. Some have in mind that an £89 million transfer fee will mean that if you have not scored 40 goals, 80 assists and had 120 clean sheets, you are not proving that you are worth that fee. Sarcasm again if any of you are confused.

This season, at the time of publishing, Paul Pogba has made a total of 49 appearances for United (29 in the Premier League, 13 in the UEFA Europa League, four in the EFL Cup and two in the Emirates FA Cup). In total, Pogba has scored seven goals, assisting a further five goals for his club. In the Premier League and the UEFA Europa League, Pogba has created a total 72 chances for his teammates, of which only four have been turned into goals. In total, Pogba has created 75 chances in all competitions this season, only seeing five of those turned into goals. Many seem to blame that on Pogba, for what reason I do not know, but it really is not down to him that more advanced players have been dealt a key pass, failing to turn that into a goal. That seems to be one of the statistics that means Pogba is a failure, which is not exactly the case. In terms of development, Pogba’s stats are similar to those of his past four years at Juventus, which when considering he has stepped up to a tougher league, makes it look even better for him seeing as he has been consistent. Keep wishing Pogba haters, you might not get what you want.

copyright: JW