Paul Pogba is all set for a move to Serie A Champions Juventus following half a season of uncertainty. Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV this evening that as far as he was concerned, the move was sealed a while back. Pogba was reported to have wanted more playing time and a hefty pay rise, which was subsequently turned down. The scenario echoes that of Ravel Morrison, who signed for West Ham earlier in the season following a similar dispute (although the latter also had many off the field problems). The young Frenchman, who has inaccurately been likened to former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, signed for United in 2009 from Le Havre.
Pogba made his first team debut this season against Leeds in the League Cup. United won the game 3-0, with Michael Owen scoring a brace and Ryan Giggs netting the third. He went onto make six more substitute appearances (three in the league), but failed to make a first team start in any competition. He was part of the infamous FA Youth Cup winning midfield in 2010/11 and was produced an inspired display against Chelsea in the semi finals of that competition where he ran the second half (scoring a goal and assisting the other), getting United back into the game (although United lost 3-2, Chelsea were hammered 4-0 at Old Trafford.
Pogba’s loss will mean little for United’s first team right now but the club have lost a talent. Whilst his ability has probably been overstated at present, his potential is unquestionable. That said, he endured a poor season in 2011/12 at Reserve level, only rarely hitting the heights that many know he can. Ferguson played his part in it all too – claiming Pogba was part of his first team squad but then not using him until the latter part of the season. In truth, Pogba wasn’t ready for more playing time at United but a seed had been sown in his head an he clearly wanted more.
The move to Juventus probably is primarily about money – Juventus are clearly willing to pay more than United in wages. After all, why should United be held to ransom by an agent for a player who’s never started a game for the club? Even at Juventus, Pogba will find it hard to break into the team – Pirlo, Marchisio, Vidal and probably soon Asamoah are just a few of the players ahead of him. It’s been suggested he may be loaned to either Udinese (as part of a move for Asamoah) or to Pescara (as part of a move for Verratti); either way, it’s unlikely he’ll be wearing the stripes of Juventus regularly, any time soon. You can hear more in detail about his move on our upcoming podcast with Anto from Beyond The Pitch.
Best of luck to Pogba – there’s no point pretending to not be disappointed about a) his loss, and b) the club’s inability to retain talent. Pogba’s arguably one of the top midfield talents in Europe so there’s little way to positively spin losing him, talent-wise. Given the chance and plenty of patience, he should have a good career. It’s just a disappointing way to leave the club with Ferguson seemingly particularly angered by it suggesting Pogba had shown the club no respect.