The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Paul Pogba’s potential destinations if the Manchester United star decides to call it quits.
Back in the summer of 2016, when Paul Pogba had sealed his return to Manchester United, it was seen as a major coup for the Red Devils. After all, despite the lure of the riches and the appointment of Jose Mourinho as their new manager, United still had a lot of prove after a couple of years in the wilderness. And so, signing one of the best midfielders in the world was seen as quite a big deal.
Fast forward to present time and it is fair to say that Pogba has not quite been able to live up to the hype that his second coming had generated. While his talent has never been in doubt, the fact that he has blown hot and cold has meant that Pogba has often left a lot to be desired, rendering him to be a polarised figure among the Manchester United fanbase.
That he has constantly flirted with a possible move away from Manchester United, either through notorious agent Mino Raiola or his own comments, has hardly helped matters. As a result, Pogba has almost always had an air of uncertainty around him at Old Trafford. That seems to be the case in the current scenario as well.
Having flirted with the possibility of a move to Real Madrid once again, widespread speculation over Pogba’s future at Manchester United has been rampant. A poor start to the season has further contributed to his predicament, with Pogba struggling to nail down a place in the starting lineup two months into the new season, something that has drawn the ire of Gary Neville.
The usual suspects are believed to be pondering over ways to secure his services, with a move away from Manchester United now being mooted. For the first time, The Red Devils might not be averse to a departure either, having signed Donny van de Beek this past summer.
United’s position is reasonably secure as well, after they exercised their option to extend his deal by twelve months. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle now examines the potential destinations for Pogba, if he indeed decides to leave Manchester United, and what the best next step in his career would be.
Assessing the transfer situation
Ever since Pogba made his way back to Manchester United, there has been a narrative dictating a possible return to Juventus as well. The Bianconeri have indeed been credited with an interest in re-signing the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner a number of times as well, especially considering their creative issues in recent seasons.
The same creative problems persist in the early days of Andrea Pirlo as well and the Italian is eager to reunite with his former teammate in Turin. Reports have suggested that Pirlo “dreams” of adding Pogba to his squad at Juventus.
The 27-year-old has previously admitted to viewing Turin as his home and with things not really going his way at Manchester United, he could well be on his way back to Juvnetus. But, the effects of the coronavirus could hamper the Bianconeri’s prospects of bringing Pogba back and the same reports suggest that the player might have to take a pay cut to become a Juventus player again.
Transfer Likelihood: 9/10
Is Juventus the right club?
If the stars align perfectly and Pogba indeed rejoins Juventus, it could be the perfect marriage. The Serie A champions have not been the most eye-catching of teams, with summer signing Arthur experiencing major teething problems.
Apart from the Brazilian, Andrea Pirlo does not really have any creative midfielders at his disposal, with Aaron Ramsey going in and out of the side. So, re-signing Pogba could be a big step in the right direction for Juventus, if they are to fix the problems they are experiencing in the middle of the park.
Pogba’s ability to pick out a pass from deep in midfield could make him the perfect foil for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has not always been on the same wavelength as some of his teammates. With Pirlo also looking to implement a system similar to the one Antonio Conte had in place at Juvenuts, the settling in period could well be minimal. All in all, this is a transfer that could work out well for all parties involved.
Approval Rating: 9/10
Assessing the transfer situation
Real Madrid appear to be set to go into a state of transition in the coming transfer windows. After making a slow start to the 2020/21 campaign, it looks like a number of areas need to be addressed; some more urgently than the others.
In recent years, midfield has been in safe hands at Real Madrid, with Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos forging a solid trifecta. In the last couple of seasons, Federico Valverde has been added to this unit, meaning Zinedine Zidane has had very little complaints. But, upon closer inspection, the need to bolster midfield becomes understandable.
Isco is set to be sold sooner or later, while Modric is not getting younger and is in the twilight of his career. So, it will hardly be surprising for Real Madrid to make an attempt to swoop Pogba away from Manchester United, especially with the player time and again expressing his desire to play under Zidane.
Reports have suggested that Zidane favours a move for the 27-year-old over Eduardo Camavinga, who is another player who has been linked heavily with Real Madrid. However, the cost of the operation means Los Blancos, who have been mired in some financial constraints due to the redevelopment of the Bernabeu, might need to choose between Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, believed to be their priority.
Transfer Likelihood: 6/10
Is Real Madrid the right club?
The biggest reason why Real Madrid might be the right club for Paul Pogba is the fact that he has dreamt of playing for them for a long time, with his desire to be coached by Zinedine Zidane being even higher. For a player who has often been termed as moody, his motivation levels in the Spanish capital might just be higher than ever before, considering he has yearned to represent the club.
If Real Madrid do make a move for him, it is hard to see why Pogba would turn down a move to the Bernabeu. Add to it the fact that he would be playing with bonafide world class players and Pogba could well be a happy camper while donning the famous white strip.
As far as Pogba fitting in Zidane’s system is concerned, he might not be a like-for-like replacement for Modric but he certainly has what it takes to boost Real Madrid’s creative numbers. The caveat, though, comes in the form of his defensive output, but Zidane’s excellent man management abilities could help swing that part of Pogba’s game as well, considering he tends to put in the hard yards on France duty. The only obstacle is Los Blancos actually making a move.
Approval Rating: 7/10
Assessing the transfer situation
At PSG, Thomas Tuchel has had the honour of coaching some of the biggest names in the game. But at the same time, there are some major holes in his squad that need to be plugged if the Ligue 1 champions are to finally take that final step of winning of the elusive UEFA Champions League title.
Tuchel’s current midfield options lean more towards the defensive side of the spectrum than creative. As a result, the PSG manager has often had to largely depend on the likes of Neymar and Angel Di Maria to con the creative hat in the final third, with the midfielders usually shoring up the defensive side of things.
That changes with the potential arrival of Pogba, who could add a lot of dynamism to the PSG midfield, where he would reunite with former Manchester United man Ander Herrera. Having said that, PSG, too, are in a financial quagmire due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. However, if there is one club who can withstand those damages, it is the cash-rich PSG.
Transfer Likelihood: 8/10
Is PSG the right club?
Signing with PSG would give Pogba the opportunity to represent a team that is guaranteed to win a glut of trophies in the coming years while also hoping to contest better for the Champions League with his arrival. A move to the French capital would also see him return home for the first time in his senior career.
As far as the tactical success of Pogba’s switch from Manchester United to PSG goes, he could revel in Thomas Tuchel’s system, despite the fact that he demands a great deal from his players. With the midfielders he will be playing alongside having a more defensive outlook in the middle of the park, Pogba could theoretically have the freedom to express himself.
That, in turn, makes the PSG midfield more dynamic while taking a great deal of creative burden off of Neymar and Angel Di Maria. Practically speaking, PSG would be the most ideal fit for a player of Pogba’s qualities. Whether they make a move for him or not remains to be seen.